A medical online lab service is an Internet-based intermediary which allows individuals to order and obtain lab test results online. The concept is one of many recent developments in the changing healthcare paradigm promoting greater involvement by patients in their health care.
The online lab service also referred to as online laboratory service, lab online service, laboratory online service and the private lab has a client relationship with one or more large clinical reference laboratories.
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Individual clients of the Internet-based service must first set up a private lab account. After deciding on the desired test(s) the order is placed through that private account and a laboratory order form is then generated showing the ordered test(s).
The individual client then selects a conveniently located test specimen collection site through the laboratory online service website and presents to that site with the order form printed from a computer.
Following specimen collection, private lab results are usually available within 24 to 72 hours and can be downloaded and saved to a computer, printed, imported into a personal health record application, or left securely stored in the private lab account.
The main online lab services which have good Better Business Bureau ratings utilize one or both of the two major nationwide accredited clinical reference laboratories to perform the tests.