A Beginner’s Guide to Common Laboratory Services

Whenever a person goes to his/her doctor for a check-up, it’s possible that the person would be required to undergo a certain medical test. In the world of medicine, there are a handful of common laboratory services conducted in order to learn whether a patient is in good health or not. These laboratory services can also help a person monitor his/her progress after a surgery. Five common laboratory services offered to complement a doctor’s diagnosis are enumerated below.

1. Amylase Test. This exam is usually conducted when a doctor observes any symptoms of a pancreatic disorder. The pancreas is one place in the body that produces amylase (the other being the salivary glands in the mouth). When the pancreas becomes inflamed, swollen, or is attacked by a disease, amylase is then released into the blood. This test would help detect any presence of amylase in the blood, and thus indicate that there is indeed something wrong with a patient’s pancreas.

2. Basic Metabolic Panel or BMP. This exam is conducted when a patient comes to his/her doctor about any concerns regarding the possibility of having kidney disease or diabetes. A patient will have to fast for 10 to 12 hours and would then go through 7 to 8 tests.

3. Flu Tests. Swabs are made in a patient’s throat, nose, or upper pharynx. This helps doctors know if the flu symptoms being exhibited by their patients are caused by influenza A, B, or other bacteria.

4. hCG or Human chorionic gonadotrophin. This test is conducted on women who suspect that they are pregnant. This is also done to monitor a woman’s pregnancy, or check if there are certain symptoms that the doctor and patient should be aware of that could be harmful to the patients’ pregnancy. A sample of the woman’s urine is usually examined.

5. Pap Smear. Whenever a woman turns 18, she is advised to have this medical exam conducted every year. This helps her in determining if she has any infections in her uterus and/or vagina. This also helps check if she has cervical cancer or not. Sexually active women are also urged to have this exam every year. A few cells in the opening of the woman’s cervix are taken and then analyzed.

These five medical laboratory services are part of the thousands of services that are conducted in hospitals and other diagnostic laboratories every day. One can think of these services as the very backbone where a doctor’s prescription and diagnosis rests on.

A Primer To Certified Diamonds and Diamond Certification Laboratories

Knowing a bit about diamond certification is essential for anyone who wants to purchase loose diamonds or practically any piece of diamond jewelry since a diamond’s value can only be reflected accurately on its certificate.

A diamond’s certificate, also called a diamond grading report, is prepared by an expert gemologist and is issued by a gemological laboratory. There are quite a number of gemological laboratories around the world which certify diamonds but it has been the norm of almost all jewelers in the industry to have their diamonds certified by a few select internationally acclaimed gemological laboratories which are considered to employ the strictest diamond grading standards. Commonly known by their initials, these laboratories are the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the American Gem Society Laboratories (AGS), the European Gemological Laboratories (EGL), the International Gemological Institute (IGI), and the Hoge Raad Voor Diamant (HRD).

While all of these laboratories employ a sort of system which evaluates a diamond’s value mainly from its Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat, some are held in higher regard than others since each of these organizations has its own set of standards and advocacies. You can therefore expect a diamond’s certificate to play an integral part in its price and resale value. Listed below are several noteworthy facts on each laboratory which a buyer can take into consideration when purchasing certified diamonds.


The Gemological Institute of America is possibly the most highly respected among the five since it primarily is a nonprofit educational institution. Founded in 1931 by Robert Shipley, a pioneering retail jeweler in during the 30’s, the GIA’s primary mission is the promotion of education, research, laboratory services, and instrument development in the gem and jewelry industry. It has been credited for making the “4 C’s”: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat a standard for grading diamonds.


The American Gem Society shares the same pedigree as the GIA, having been founded in 1934 by the famed Robert Shipley. Composed of a group of over 1,200 retail jewelers in North America, it established its own laboratory in 1996 and has contributed advances in instrument modernization and new diamond grading standards called the AGS 0-10 Grading System and the AGS Performance-Based Cut Grading System.


The European Gemological Laboratories is an international organization established in Europe more than 30 years ago. It has since split into two independently owned entities: EGL International and EGL USA. EGL International is an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001: 2000 certified organization and is the proponent of the “SI3” designation for diamond clarity.


With locations in all major diamond trade cities around the world including New York, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Bangkok, Tokyo, Dubai, Toronto, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, the International Gemological Institute is the largest independent diamond laboratory in the world. It is International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001: 2000 certified in four countries including the United States, Canada, India and the United Arab Emirates. The IGI was established in 1975 and is currently headquartered in Antwerp.


The “Hoge Raad Voor Diamant” or Diamond High Council is considered to be the GIA’s European counterpart and is representative of the Belgian Diamond Industry. The organization was conceived and is headquartered in Antwerp, a city that has been at the forefront of the diamond industry and is home to the world’s most talented diamond cutters. The HRD Diamond Laboratory is also the first diamond lab in the world that has been NBN EN ISO/IEC 17025-certified.

A reputable jeweler should be able and willing to sufficiently explain further details to any customer who wishes to know more about the different grading processes and standards each laboratory employs so that he can make an informed decision. A diamond’s certificate is also valid and acknowledged by jewelers and appraisers worldwide, making certified loose diamonds a clear advantage for the non-expert purchaser.

The Online Lab Service – How It Works and Why It Works

A medical online lab service is an Internet-based intermediary which allows individuals to order and obtain lab test results online. The concept is one of many recent developments in the changing healthcare paradigm promoting greater involvement by patients in their health care. Because of usability and cost savings, online lab services are becoming more popular.

The online lab service also referred to as an online laboratory service, lab online service, laboratory online service and private lab has a client relationship with one or more large clinical reference laboratories and directs its clients to one of the clinical reference laboratory’s collection sites for blood drawing or other specimen collection, depending on what has been ordered.

Individual clients of the Internet-based service must first set up a private lab account. After deciding on the desired test(s) the order is placed through that private account and a laboratory order form is then generated showing the ordered test(s). The individual client then selects a conveniently located test specimen collection site through the laboratory online service website and presents to that site with the order form printed from a computer. Following specimen collection private lab results are usually available within 24 to 72 hours and can be downloaded and saved to a computer, printed, imported into a personal health record application, or left securely stored in the private lab account.

The main online lab services which have good Better Business Bureau ratings utilize one or both of the two major nationwide accredited clinical reference laboratories to performed the tests. Therefore, the accuracy of the test results is identical to that obtained if testing is ordered by a doctor. Online laboratory services are legal in all states except New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

In contrast to the traditional relationship between a clinical reference laboratory and a physician, the relationship between the laboratory and an Internet-based lab service is a less expensive one for the clinical reference laboratory, for which reason the testing fees are significantly less than those charged to patients when tests are ordered by a physician. Although the fees charged to the client by the lab online service include a markup, the overall cost is generally less than if the client is billed directly by the clinical reference laboratory.

Since clinical reference laboratories will not allow individual clients to order tests directly, the online lab service is a convenient and cost-effective alternative to laboratory testing ordered by a physician. It can be a temporary solution for an individual who has not yet established a doctor/patient relationship or for a patient whose doctor visit is scheduled too far into the future from the time of desired testing. Additionally, the private lab account through which online lab test results are obtained provides ultimate confidentiality of test results and peace of mind in those sensitive circumstances such as STD testing.

With 14 million more American citizens projected to obtain private health insurance in 2014 as a result of the Affordable Care Act, many uninsured individuals, in order to ensure optimal healthcare and healthcare results, should begin assembling a personal health record well before the initial doctor/patient encounter. The use of an online laboratory service can be an important resource for gathering information that will be useful to a future physician and aid him or her in providing outstanding health care.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice or a substitute for medical consultation with a qualified professional. If you are seeking legal advice or are unsure about your medical condition you should consult an attorney and/or physician.