Blood Tests and Lab Resources

Looking at a blood test and trying to decipher it? Wondering which test to order for a patient? Just had a test done yourself and wondering what it was for? There are two great resources for this- the Royal College of Pathology Australia’s free online manual, and Lab Tests Online.

The RCPA manual is an easy way to look up an individual test and check reference range and indications. The reference ranges are not absolute- as each lab has a slightly different meld of testing, they will give reference ranges with the results. It’s great for an overview though if a patient comes in without their paperwork and says, ‘the doctor said my TSH was X’.

Lab Tests Online doesn’t give reference ranges for the above reason, but it gives a great explanation of how they are developed and the limitations they have. It breaks down each test, telling you (or the patient) exactly why a test would be ordered and what an abnormal result might indicate. It’s designed for the general public, so language is simple and the format is easy to understand.

Both sites allow you to search by test or by condition- I’ve found the lab tests site to be more useful in most cases, but the RCPA has some great decision making tools (just browse through until you find what you’re after).

They both make a great reference for assignments and I’ve used them in the shop a few times, to help explain someone to a customer. Bookmark them, they will be invaluable!

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