Preparing for Lab & Imaging Tests

Patients frequently have some common and important questions when they know they are coming for testing so we have included answers to these questions below.

If you cannot find the answer to your specific question, please ask your doctor or contact the facility where you will be going for your tests.

Learn more about specific imaging procedures.

Before the Test

Does it have to be where my doctor is located?

In Manitoba, you can have your tests done anywhere you would like. Your doctor may suggest a particular place, but you can go to a different location if it is more convenient for you. Just make sure to bring the requisition form your doctor provided to whatever facility you choose.

You may choose to take your test at a Diagnostic Services, Shared Health facility at any regional health authority location. You may also bring your requisition forms to diagnostic laboratories and imaging centres in the private sector.

Does it have to be where my doctor is located?

Patients may be able to have the test in the location of their choice (including other regions and sites if the test is offered there eg. Brandon, Boundary Trails, Selkirk, etc.). They should talk to their doctor to see if this is an option.

When you know you will be going for diagnostic tests, it is important to discuss with your doctor any preparations you might need to take. Check if you can still take your medications that day and whether or not you can eat or drink prior to the test. You should also ask how your doctor will communicate with you about test results so that you can book a follow-up appointment immediately, if required. Shared Health employees who perform your tests cannot tell you test results.

Depending on the size of the facility and population it serves, you may need to book an appointment, especially for diagnostic imaging tests and blood work involving fasting. It is best to call ahead to the facility where your tests will be done to determine whether you should book an appointment.

Diagnostic Services, Shared Health has a listing of all regional diagnostic facilities, hours of operation and available services for your reference.

It is important to speak with your doctor about preparations for specific tests since what you need to do or not do is different for every test. Your doctor is the best source for information on what preparations you need to take for your test.

You need to bring:

  • The requisition form your doctor provided, if applicable.
  • Your Manitoba Health Card or another piece of identification with your photo on it.

It is preferable for most testing situations to have the collection of the specimen done at our facility. If there is a reason that you cannot collect the specimen on site, please speak to your doctor or Shared Health staff about your specific situation.

Is he/she afraid of needles?

Some children may become anxious or frightened if blood work is required. In most cases, the following recommendations will help to relieve their fears or, at least, maintain their calm enough for the test to be done:

  • Be honest.
  • Do not minimize your child’s fear or tell him/her that the needle will not hurt.
  • Explain that the needle will hurt a little bit, but that it will be over very quickly.
  • If you know about the blood work in advance, it may be possible to apply an ointment to numb the area. Your doctor can provide further direction and advice.
  • Plan an activity to distract and engage your child.
  • Stories, funny faces, and singing are all great distractions.
  • Reward a child’s bravery with a trip to the park, a story or even a small treat.

For regular laboratory testing, there are no significant risks. You may experience some discomfort from a needle puncture during blood collection, as well as some tenderness and/or bruising afterwards.

However, Shared Health staff members are professionally trained to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the collection process and to minimize any discomfort you may experience. Laboratory technologists and technicians will also do their best to answer any questions you have about the procedure beforehand.

For imaging procedures, there can be some risk; however, your doctor has considered these risks and determined that the benefit of having the test results outweighs the risk associated with testing.

If you are concerned about risk factors, you should speak with your doctor.

Shared Health has an extensive laboratory test menu and has the ability to perform most routine tests, as well as many specialized procedures in Chemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, Pathology, Hematology and Immunology.

When extremely rare tests are required, Shared Health refers samples to other laboratories where diagnostic staff have the familiarity and equipment to test and interpret results for specialized processes.

Going for my Test

Wait times vary throughout the day. Often, the busiest time is immediately after opening in the morning since patients who were asked to fast (not eat or drink for a period of time) do so overnight, so they come in the morning to have their tests.

In most Shared Health labs, patients are served on a walk-in priority basis in this order: chemotherapy patients, fasting diabetic patients, other fasting patients, and non-fasting patients.

We know that waiting can be frustrating. Please be patient; while you may have to wait now, the walk-in priority model for service ensures that your physician will get results more quickly.

When we ask for your identification, we are ensuring your safety and well-being. If you are an out-patient (not admitted into the hospital), you may be required to show your identification more than once. This ensures we are collecting the right specimens from you so they are tested according to what your doctor requisitioned.

Please be patient – your safety and the accuracy of your tests are our first priority!

In most instances where blood work is required, you may remain with a child or aging parent. For some lengthier testing process, particularly in diagnostic imaging, the presence of extra individuals can make the testing process more difficult so the technologist may ask for you to remain in the waiting room.

Please understand: your technologist is only trying to get the best results possible. Shared Health staff members are professionally trained to ensure that all patients, including babies, children, and other patients with special needs, are comfortable throughout the collection process.

Please talk to your technologist if you have any questions or concerns.

The lab assistant or technologist who is collecting a specimen from you or performing the imaging procedure is a trained professional who cares about your health and well-being. He or she can respond to your questions and concerns about the procedure.

For lab work, you may experience some discomfort from a needle puncture during blood collection, as well as some tenderness and/or bruising afterwards.

However, Shared Health staff members are professionally trained to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the collection process and to minimize any discomfort you may experience. Laboratory technologists and technicians will also do their best to answer any questions you have about the procedure beforehand.

After my Test

After your sample is collected, and depending on what test your doctor has ordered, your sample may be tested right at the facility where it was collected or it may be transported to another Shared Health laboratory. Depending on the complexity of the test, your specimen may also be handled by several people with different specialties and expertise.

Most laboratory work requires time to process. The quickest way for you to obtain results is to speak with your doctor. Under Manitoba law, you may request your own health records, but Shared Health staff cannot directly provide results, interpret information, or diagnose health conditions. If you would like to learn how to request your health records, please see the Privacy section.

In the case of imaging, the technologist performing your test is trained in how to get accurate images from the equipment they are using. They are not trained to read those images to provide results or health-related information or advice. Only a doctor can provide that information.

Your lab and imaging results are confidential. Your results are visible only to Shared Health staff, as well as your doctor once they are communicated.

Please see the Privacy section.

We encourage you to speak with Shared Health staff at the time of your experience. This is the quickest and most effective way to resolve issues.

If you still have unanswered questions or you are not satisfied with the local response you received, please contact us at 1-866-633-1787 or by email at dsmclientservices@sharedhealthmb.ca.

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