Preparing for Your Appointment

Your provider just ordered blood work and you’re gearing up to get it done. Here’s what you should know ahead of time to ensure a comfortable and easy draw.

Insurance Coverage

Having an unusual test done and wondering whether your insurance will cover it? We recommend calling your insurance to find out. If you have questions about how to do that, our staff can assist you. If you don’t have insurance or discover that your insurance will not cover the cost of a test, let us know so we can discuss payment options with you. We can provide you with pricing to allow you to pay upfront at the time of service.

Before Your Blood Test

Your provider should let you know whether you need to fast prior to having your blood drawn. If you’re not sure, confirm any requirements with your provider beforehand.

Fast Smartly:  Fasting for a blood test entails avoiding all food and beverages (except for water) for 8 to 12 hours prior to the test. Drink plenty of water and take your medications as usual. Note that a small number of tests have stricter requirements, such as the H. pylori breath test, which involves consuming nothing, including water, for one hour prior to the test.

Tip: Come prepared with snacks. If you’re fasting, head to the lab early in the morning and bring a healthy snack to eat following the test.

Drink Water:  
Many people believe they should avoid water before a blood draw, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Drinking water will not only make you feel better if you’re fasting, it will also make for a smoother blood draw. Blood is about 50 percent water, so the more water you drink, the plumper your veins become and the easier it is for the phlebotomist–the technician trained to draw your blood–to locate your veins and remove blood.

Urine tests are frequently ordered along with blood tests, and the fuller your bladder is, the easier it will be for you to provide a sample. (Note: The urine test for chlamydia and gonorrhea requires that you not urinate for one hour prior to the test.)

Tip: Get a head start on hydration. Drink extra water beginning the day before your blood draw to ensure you’re adequately hydrated the day of the draw.

Make Sure You Have a Lab Order:  You’ll need a lab order from your provider in order to have your blood drawn. If you’re not sure whether you have an order on-file, call our office and we’ll take a look. If you’d like your provider to order blood work, we recommend booking an appointment so you can discuss your concerns and come up with a set of tests tailored for you.

What to Expect During the Draw:  No one looks forward to getting their blood drawn, but the procedure is usually brief and uneventful. Most people are in and out of the lab room in under 15 minutes. The phlebotomist will begin by gently pressing his or her fingers against your skin to locate the best vein. Then he or she will don gloves, clean the area with an alcohol pad, tie a tourniquet around your upper arm to increase blood flow, ask you to make a fist, and insert the needle.

Tip: Chatting helps. Our medical phlebotomists make a point of engaging you in conversation to help you relax so that the needle prick is a little less painful. Chat with your phlebotomist and distract yourself from the draw!

Shy Veins:  Our phlebotomists are skilled at drawing blood from a variety of patients. Some veins are trickier to draw from than others. To coax out a shy vein, the phlebotomist might tighten the tourniquet, spend additional time palpating your veins, or place a warm pad against your skin. Taking the time upfront to locate the best vein is time well spent. A phlebotomist’s goal is to draw your blood as easily and painlessly as possible–and only once! If the phlebotomist is not successful after two sticks, he or she may recommend that you come back another day.

Tip: Know your limits. If you’ve fainted in the past or have a phobia of needles, let the phlebotomist know right away. They can position you so you’re less likely to faint, keep their needles out of your line of sight, or use the right words to soothe you during the draw.

After Your Blood Test

Bruising Is Normal:  After the blood draw is completed, your phlebotomist will remove the needle, hold gauze against the puncture site, and ask you to apply pressure. Applying pressure directly following a blood draw mitigates the common side effect of bruising.  Even with these precautions, minor bruising and swelling around the puncture site can occur. Because every person’s veins are different, and veins move frequently, bruising can occur even with the most experienced phlebotomists. If you do bruise, it should go away within a few days.

Getting Your Results:  
Once the lab processes the samples we will send the results to your doctor who will contact you to discuss the results.