Laboratory

LUH laboratory currently provides a diverse range of testing services to hospital patients and physician offices in the community, including state-of-the-art testing in Chemistry, Coagulation, Hematology, Blood Banking, and Serology.  Our transfusion products are provided by the American Red Cross Pacific Northwest Region facility in Portland. We store these products on site so they are available for transfusion when a physician determines the need for his/her patient.

To maintain our level of excellence, LUH Laboratory subscribes to strict quality assurance and quality improvement programs. LUH laboratory is accredited by CLIA and inspected by the Oregon State Department of Health. All of our testing personnel are certified Medical Technologists, or Medical Technicians and our Phlebotomists are skilled at difficult draws.

Why should you have your blood work tested by the Hospital laboratory?
Having your out patient blood sample tested at LUH laboratory improves the continuity of care for you. The results of your outpatient blood work are available to the treating physician if you have an occasion to be a patient in our Emergency room or Hospital.

By supporting the local Hospital and Laboratory you keep our laboratory a strong and diversified facility, and allow us to maintain a broad spectrum of testing.

Have you ever wondered what happens to those little vials of blood your doctor has you give for tests? The following is provided to give you an idea of what goes on behind the laboratory doors.

 

What is tested in the laboratory? In a hospital laboratory, we do testing on clinical specimens. Some of the tests done in a clinical laboratory might have similarities to tests done in other types of laboratories, but clinical laboratories do not test water samples or other materials.

What is a clinical specimen? A clinical specimen is anything from a patient. Common specimens to test are blood and tissue, but the specimen can be anything. For example, some tests are done on urine or other body fluids. In our laboratory, the majority of tests are performed on blood, urine, cerebral spinal fluid, or other bodily fluids.

What comprises the laboratory department? The Laboratory at LUH and in most hospitals is divided into separate sections, depending on the technology being used or the specific type of testing being performed. Clinical Chemistry concentrates on tests performed on the fluid portion of blood, as well as some other bodily fluids. Hematology looks at the cellular components of blood and coagulation involved in clotting. Microbiology deals with infectious diseases, which can include diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, or tuberculosis. At this time, most of our Microbiology specimens are sent to a reference laboratory. One of the goals of the LUH laboratory is to bring Microbiology testing on site. The Blood Bank deals with units of blood for transfusions. Phlebotomy collects blood specimens for testing

What is a Medical Technologist? Medical Technologists earn a BS degree, which involves three or four years at an accredited college or university, followed by one year in a clinical laboratory rotating through the different laboratory sections. Some technologists go on to specialize in one area, while others continue to work in multiple areas of the laboratory

What is a pathologist? A pathologist is a physician specialist who has a medical degree prior to specializing in pathology.

How many people are on the LUH Laboratory staff? In addition to the Medial Director (Pathologist), LUHs’ Laboratory has 6 full-time employees and one part time employee.

When is the laboratory in operation? Laboratory testing is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. There is always a qualified tech available whose job it is to run stat specimens, to man the Blood Bank, or to deal with whatever support the laboratory needs to provide to the other hospital services. Not all tests are available 24/7, but many are. Aside from being able to cross match units of blood and arrange for blood transfusions, the laboratory is always ready to accept specimens for culture, cardiac enzymes, drug monitoring, and basic testing such as coagulation testing, complete blood count (CBC), electrolytes, and chemistry assays.

What is the difference between a hospital laboratory and an independent laboratory? The two types of laboratories have a lot of similarities. Both have the same types of equipment and divisions, technologists, and technicians, but the character and culture of the two are different. A hospital laboratory is an integral part of the hospital. It is a “service center,” which consults with patients’ physicians. Independent laboratories, also called commercial laboratories, are separate from the hospital and are “profit centers.” Both types of laboratories are regulated by the Department of Health.

How do I know if laboratory results will be accurate? All laboratories — hospital and independent — spend extraordinary amounts of time, effort, and money to assure that results are accurate. In a typical laboratory, as many as 25% of samples are over and above patient specimens and are used to calibrate and control testing. This is a huge commitment to quality. Still, no laboratory is perfect, and a certain degree of scrutiny is always required. The best way to do that is to take advantage of all of the opportunities to put laboratory results in some sort of reasonable context. History and good communication between the laboratory and the ordering physician is important. In this regard, hospital laboratories offer an advantage.

What are some of the other advantages of using the hospital laboratory? The ability to correlate with previous results or with physician clinical information adds a layer of scrutiny beyond all the internal efforts made toward accuracy. Ultimately, you count on the quality of the laboratory, the relationship of the physician with the laboratory, and the correlation between results and clinical information, as well as looking at results over time. In the hospital laboratory, if there is any question, problem with the nature of a specimen, or any technical, storage, or transportation problems, you can count on there being rapid communication, and any suspect result will be re-checked.

Why am I told to fast before a laboratory test? Most tests can be run on a specimen regardless of whether the patient has been fasting. Certain tests are very sensitive to changes that occur after a meal and can only be interpreted by comparing results in a fasting state. The duration of fasting is dependent on the type of test. For example, blood sugar can be done after a 6-hour fast, but for triglycerides or a lipid profile, a full 8 to 12-hour fast is required.

What should a patient do with a laboratory result? It is a good idea to keep a record of your laboratory results for future reference and comparison. If a laboratory result is normal, filing a copy is sufficient. If a laboratory result is abnormal, it should be discussed with your physician who might recommend repeating the test or running some additional testing to determine the cause of the abnormality.

Who certifies laboratories? The LUH Laboratory is inspected by Oregon State Department of Health. The laboratory must meet rigorous standards which are used to assure that the laboratory is providing the highest possible quality of patient testing.