Laboratory Follow Up Office Policy
Patients will be asked to follow up in the office to review their laboratory results.
Various laboratory tests may be ordered at your office visit in order to more fully investigate symptoms, screening and/or diseases. Patients who provide his/her arm for a blood draw consent to laboratory tests being performed that is ordered and/or labs agreed upon by patient and Dr. Sult. Many patients request that we simply call them or send them lab results. While this seems to be a common practice that most doctors do, we feel it is bad medicine. It is the interpretation, understanding, and interventions based on these lab results that is the complex part. At 3rd Opinion, we require patients to follow up with Dr. Sult for the review of labs so that all of the therapeutic options can be reviewed, informed consent provided, and therapy started (if applicable.)
For these reasons, the best medical practice is to have patients follow up in the office, face-to-face, to review all laboratories whether normal or abnormal. A normal laboratory may result in ongoing therapy or signal the completion of therapy. That face-to-face encounter will allow us to reinforce the therapeutic intervention so that the patient doesn’t forget. An abnormal laboratory needs to be explained in the context of your greater health management. More than one therapeutic option almost always exists. These various options carry varying degrees of convenience, complexity, and risk. These options need to be explained and understood in order for you to choose the best option for your particular circumstance. Some labs are to look for trends and have little meaning by themselves, whether high, low, or normal. It is the trend we are after; one or often two or three numbers is not a trend. It is the longer term we are sometimes following.
Often people ask for their labs and we are happy to send them, but we will not respond to questions about labs over the telephone. For all of the above reasons, an in office, face-to-face visit is required to place the labs in the larger context of your medical care.
Please note that labs drawn while at 3rd Opinion are sent to various laboratories. These laboratories will bill your insurance and 3rd Opinion does not have control over billing of these services. Please call the phone number for your insurance company (which is on the back of your insurance card) to verify coverage of lab work and blood draw.
We appreciate your understanding of this office policy regarding laboratory draws and results.
Dr. Thomas A. Sult & 3rd Opinion Staff