Understanding Your Tests

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Index of Tests
Index of Conditions

Like many areas in medicine, clinical laboratory or pathology testing often provides few simple answers to commonly asked questions. The issues - on reliability of the tests and reference ranges - can be very complex. While we can't offer the kinds of short, easy answers that we seem to be accustomed to in this information age, we have attempted, in the following articles, to break down the issues in a way that will help you to ask the appropriate questions of your doctor.

Anatomical Pathology
Introduction to anatomical pathology providing explanations for histopathology and cytopathology reviewing the different techniques and instrumentation used for the examination of tissue specimens.

Blood banking
Overview of blood banking, including donating blood, protecting the blood supply, ensuring proper use, and risks

Collecting samples for testing
Overview of the collection of samples from someone having a sample or specimen collected for laboratory analysis

Genetic testing
Overview of genetic testing

Home and Point of Care (POCT) testing
Overview of home testing and its connection to rising expectations among health care consumers. Include currently available tests, links to other sites.

Laboratory Methods

Other testing: radiology
Overview of radiology diagnostic testing

Positive patient identification
Importance of positive patient identification when having blood taken and or any other specimen used for testing

Reference ranges and what they mean
Informative article on reference ranges relating to interpretation of clinical lab tests and results.

How to Find Reliable Information About Medical Matters on the Internet

How reliable is laboratory testing?
An explanation of the key statistical concepts that define test reliability and the role of lab testing in medical decision-making

Coping with test pain, discomfort, and anxiety
A series of articles to help adults, children and the elderly cope with providing a sample for lab testing.

Unvalidated Tests
A list of unvalidated tests that have doubtful use or are misused

Validation, Use and Interpretation of Laboratory Tests
How laboratory test methods are validated and how pathology results are used and interpreted

Test preparation: your role
Describes the role of the patient in improving the accuracy and reliability of medical laboratory tests.