With the latest technology in analysers comes the ability to generate the results electronically and graphically. The results are checked for quality and accuracy, approved by the laboratory staff and then sent to the doctor (either printed or by electronic download). If the results indicate the patient may be very ill, the laboratory may call the doctor with the results.
The length of time between taking the blood sample and when the doctor gets the results can vary greatly, from as little as an hour to as much as several weeks. Urgent tests are performed immediately. Non-urgent test may be performed the next day or on the next run of that particular test.
Specialised tests may need to be sent away to a reference laboratory and results may not be available for some time.