Learn more about lab tests, obtaining results and more. Our frequently asked questions and answers will help you know what to expect.  

How should I prepare for my lab test?

Most lab tests don’t require any special preparation. If you need to do anything special before your test — for example, fasting before certain blood tests — your doctor will give you instructions.

When will my doctor get my test results?

Most routine tests are done at El Camino Hospital in our laboratory and can be completed and reported to your doctor within 24 to 48 hours. Some specialized tests must be sent to outside laboratories, which may lengthen the turnaround time.

How do I get copies of my lab results?

The best way to get your results is from the doctor who ordered your test. He or she will be able to explain the results and how they relate to your overall medical situation.

If you want to get your test results directly from the lab, ask your doctor to send a written authorization to the lab or bring one with you to your test. You can also ask one of our lab team members to help you with the release-of-information process. If you’d like to have copies sent to another doctor, our lab staff will arrange it.

Can I find out what my lab tests will cost before they’re performed?

Yes. Please let us know when you arrive that you’d like this information. Although we don’t have information about what your insurance company will pay for a particular service, we can tell you our full retail price and the self-pay discount fees. Registered self-pay patients can receive a 75 percent discount off retail charges for lab tests if they pay in full within 30 days with cash or credit card. To find out more, please call 650-940-7220 or 800-665-6540.

Are there any extra laboratory costs I should be aware of?

Yes. Based on the initial results, some tests (such as cultures with a positive result or certain blood tests) require further testing. This requirement, known as "reflexing," will add fees to your bill that may not be included in any cost estimates. There are also charges for blood collection (veni puncture fees) and possible fees associated with specimen shipping and handling if your tests are sent to an outside lab.

Learn more about El Camino Hospital’s billing practices.

Will my insurance cover my lab tests?

Because coverage varies from plan to plan, we recommend you contact your insurance carrier to confirm your coverage. El Camino Hospital works with most insurance carriers.

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