Where to Send Your Medical Tests? Tips on Choosing a Lab

Where to Send Your Medical Tests? Tips on Choosing a Lab | HealthSoul

Staying on top of your health should always be a priority, and this means getting annual physicals and alerting your primary care provider when any health concerns pop up. Something else that goes into an effective healthcare strategy is medical tests. 

Whether you’re sending in a sample by mail or showing up in person, you want to choose the right medical lab. Surprisingly, not all medical labs are the same. Before you head to the closest medical laboratory or scribble an address on an envelope, there are a few things you should consider. After all, when it comes to your health you always want to work with the best.

How to Choose a Medical Lab for Your Tests

There isn’t a shortage of medical labs. A simple online search will probably pull up an extensive list in your area. Even filtering out the results by type of lab and location rarely narrows it down to only a few options. So, how do you go about choosing a lab to use?


Some tests you can’t take at home, and this can include drug tests for employment and respiratory pathogen testing (RPT) to name a couple of examples. Even some blood and stool tests need to have the samples taken in the lab to ensure accurate results.

If you find out you need to show up at a medical lab in person, the last thing you want is to have to fight to find a parking spot. During your online search, check out each lab’s website to find out if they offer free parking. Trying to find a legal parking spot on the street is often a nightmare. 

While pay-to-park lots typically guarantee a parking spot, it can also be expensive. Some parking lots and garages charge $20 and higher, even if you’re only leaving your car for a few minutes.

Types of Appointments

Medical labs can function on an appointment-only, walk-in, or combination system. Each has its advantages and a few potential drawbacks. 

Labs that only see patients at a preset time can make it easier for you to fit the appointment into your busy schedule. You pick an available time slot that best works for you. The primary downside is appointments can run later, and this delays everyone else. You may have an appointment for 1 pm but the early patients ran over and now you’re stuck in a waiting room.

Walk-in medical labs give you some freedom since you can pop in anytime during business hours. If your schedule is constantly changing, making and keeping an appointment at the lab may be impossible. 

With walk-in clients, you can show up whenever you have free time but you may also find yourself waiting for an hour or more. This is something to consider, so it’s best to ensure you have plenty of free time if you use a walk-in medical lab.

A medical lab that accepts both appointments and walk-ins is another option. However, patients with appointments will take precedence over walk-ins, which means you may be the only person in a waiting room but are still watching patients come and go before your name is called.

Collecting Specimens at Home

Not all medical tests need to be done at a lab; some you can take at home but you still need to get your sample to the lab. You’re also going to need supplies to collect the sample. Look for a lab that has a convenient spot for you to pick up the necessary supplies. 

You know, instead of having to make an appointment or wait in line, you can just run in and grab what you need. Even better, see If the lab will mail the necessary testing kit. Collect your sample, place it in the included return envelope, and drop it off at the lab. Some even allow you to mail the sample in.

If you can’t mail the sample in, look for a lab that has a convenient drop-off area. Once again, your goal is to find a medical lab that makes it as easy and convenient as possible.


Surprisingly, not every medical lab has the necessary certification. Sometimes, the lab may be missing a certificate or doesn’t have the right staff. Before making an appointment or dropping in, it’s a good idea to do a little research.

Head over to the lab’s website, if there isn’t a page you probably want to move on to the next medical lab on your list. The lab’s website should proudly display all of its certifications and qualifications, and this generally includes a list of the certificates and licenses held by its personnel. 

If you’re still not sure about the lab’s qualifications, check with your healthcare provider. Chances are, they can make some recommendations. Why is certification so important? This indicates the medical lab is qualified to run tests on your samples and produce accurate results.

Facility’s Overall Condition

This may not seem like a crucial factor, but it can be more important than you realize. If the building looks like it’s in disrepair, the office and various departments probably aren’t in much better condition. The lab may have issues with keeping everything sterilized and this can affect your test results.

If the staff is willing to let the building run down, they’re probably not going to be very careful with your submitted samples. This can even extend to patient confidentiality. HIPAA rules apply, even when it’s only the results from a lab test. 

You probably don’t want someone getting a hold of your medical information, so try to choose a lab that cares about the condition of its facility.

Choosing the Right Medical Lab Can Give You Peace of Mind

Whether you’re simply taking a drug test for work or screening for a respiratory illness, the last thing you want is to run into hassles at the medical lab. Take your time choosing a lab and do your research. 

If you’re still not sure if it’s the right lab for your medical tests, consult with your primary care physician. They can provide recommendations and ensure you choose a lab that meets your needs and maintains high standards of accuracy and reliability.