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CMH Diagnostic Laboratory

Lab tests offer a quick and easy way to check for health problems during a routine checkup. They can help your health care provider make an accurate, timely diagnosis so the correct treatment can begin right away. Laboratory tests analyze samples of a person’s body fluids, tissues or wastes. They help show if medication is working properly, causing side effects or not killing the bacteria it should.


Preferred hours for outpatient laboratory services are 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Laboratory services outside of these normal business hours may be accommodated around the acute patient setting workload.

Laboratory Tests

Some common tests and what the results may mean include:

A low RBC may mean internal bleeding, poor diet or other conditions. A high count may mean heart disease, dehydration or other conditions.

A low WBC may mean bone marrow or immune system problems or other conditions. A high count may mean infection, stress, leukemia (rare cases) or other conditions.

A CBC usually includes RBCs, WBCs and differential counts for the different types of cells and Hematocrit and Hemaglobin.

Serology is the study of antibody and antigen reactions. The blood type and Rh factor prevent problems with blood transfusions. Problems also can arise due to the differences between a mother’s and her unborn child’s blood.

Antigens are substances that cause a reaction in blood or tissue. Antibodies fight antigens in the body.

A blood chemistry lab studies the substances that are carried throughout your bloodstream.

  • Glucose: Too much may mean diabetes. Too little may indicate gland, liver, pancreas or other problems.
  • Cholesterol: Too much may clog your arteries.
  • Uric Acid: Abnormal levels may mean gout, kidney problems, diabetes and other conditions.
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): Abnormal levels may mean heart, urinary or liver problems or other conditions.
  • Bilirubin: Abnormal levels may mean bile duct or liver problems, anemia or other conditions.
  • Creatinine: Abnormal levels may mean kidney problems, diabetes or other conditions.
  • Drugs and Poisons: Drug treatment monitoring and detection of alcohol and illegal drugs.
  • Calcium: Abnormal levels may mean bone or gland problems.
  • Protein: Abnormal levels may mean liver, stomach or kidney problems.

  • Biopsy: A small piece of tissue is taken using a needle or surgical instrument. This tissue is processed with special stains to assist the pathologist in making a diagnosis to report to your provider.
  • PAP Test: A brush or spatula is used to collect cells by carefully scraping the cervix. This test is used to test for cervical cancer, infertility and other STDs.
  • Nasal or Throat Swab: Cells are taken from the throat or nasal cavity and placed on special microbiology medium. Bacteria grow for 24 hours to help confirm bacterial infections such as strep throat.
  • Spinal Tap: A syringe takes fluid from around the spinal cord. This test looks for infections, tumors or other brain/nerve conditions.
  • Stool Sample: Tests look for parasites, bacteria or cancer as well as hemorrhoids.
  • Sputum Test: Patient will “cough up” a sputum specimen. This can be tested for infectious bacteria, tuberculosis and cancer.

Lab Regulations

The Joint Commission and College of American Pathologist monitor and regulate laboratories. This oversight ensures the patient's quality of care meets state and federal regulations.

The total time it takes to test a patient and provide the results to your provider depends on the test. The more complex a procedure or test, the longer it will take to get results back to your provider. For example, a urine analysis can take less than 10 minutes once it has been processed and is ready to test. However, should it need a microscopic examination, it can take up to 40 minutes to complete. A culture or tissue biopsy may take days or weeks, depending upon your provider’s orders.

Who Performs Tests?

Phlebotomists will draw your blood or collect a specimen in a physician’s office, clinic or hospital laboratory.

Laboratory staff performing more complex tests include laboratory directors, medical laboratory technicians, medical laboratory technologists, medical laboratory scientists and pathologists. Laboratories performing high-complexity testing must have highly specialized knowledge and skilled technologists to meet state and federal regulations.

Patient Resources

CMH Patient Portal — Secure online access to your health information from your computer or smartphone.

Patient Rights — Your rights and responsibilities as a patient and consumer of our services.

Online Bill Pay — Secure online bill pay service gives you a safe and convenient option for paying your bill.

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