At Gamma-Dynacare, our mission is “Caring for People”.  We strive to make your experience at our laboratory as easy, quick and comfortable as possible and to provide you with helpful information about your laboratory test. This section of our web site is designed to help you, as a patient or caregiver, by providing answers to some frequently asked questions.

Before My Test

Where can I have my laboratory tests performed?

Our Patient Services Centre Locator can help you easily find the centre most convenient for you. The locator also provides hours of operation, telephone numbers and a map showing the location of your requested centre.

What questions should I ask my healthcare provider before having the test?

Before you visit a Patient Services Centre for your test, ask your healthcare provider what test is being performed, why the test needs to be done, what you might need to do to prepare for the test, what you can expect the procedure to be like, when you can expect to hear about your test results, and how the test results will affect the course of your care.  

Do I need an appointment for my test?

Most visits to our Patient Services Centres do not require appointments. Tests that usually, in most locations, require you to make an appointment include:

  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Tests (GTTs)
  • Lactose and Xylose Tolerance Tests
  • Holter Monitoring (Ontario only)
  • Urea Breath Tests for Helicobacter Pylori
  • Breath Alcohol Testing
  • US Department of Transportation (DOT) urine procedures
  • Ultrasound imaging (Roxboro, Quebec)
  • Spermogram (Quebec)

To schedule an appointment, use the Patient Services Locator to find the Patient Services Centre you wish to visit and then phone the location to make an appointment if necessary.

Do I need to do anything special to prepare for my test?  Can I eat before the test?

For your physician to accurately interpret your results on certain tests, you might be asked to fast (not eating any foods or drinking any liquids for several hours or even overnight). This is because the levels of many analytes become elevated in the bloodstream immediately after eating and fluctuate depending on when you have eaten and the quantity of food consumed. When you fast, these variations are eliminated. This also allows your physician to compare your current results with your past results. In addition to fasting, you might be requested to abstain from stimulants (such as caffeine or nicotine), physical activity or specific foods that can alter clinical results.

It is recommended that you fast (no food, including chewing gum, or drink other than water) for a minimum of 12 hours prior to specimen collection for the following tests:

  • Cholesterol
  • Glucose
  • HDL Cholesterol
  • Homocysteine
  • Lactose Tolerance
  • LDL Cholesterol
  • Lipoprotein Phenotyping
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance(GTT)
  • Triglycerides
  • Xylose Tolerance

What should I take with me to the Patient Services Centre?

When visiting a Patient Services Centre, you should bring the following information with you:

  1. a completed and signed test requisition form from a healthcare professional requesting laboratory testing;
  2. your provincial health card; and
  3. if requested by your healthcare provider, any specimens that you were required to collect at home.

I have been asked to collect a specimen at home and to take it to a Gamma-Dynacare Patient Services Centre. What procedure should I follow?

If you have been asked to collect a specimen at home, please visit the Preparing for My Test area of our web site for complete instructions on collecting urine, stool and other specimens for testing.

Do you have any special services for patients who cannot come to the lab for their tests?

In some areas, Gamma-Dynacare offers house call collection services for elderly and other patients in long-term care facilities or who may be confined to their homes. This service is available at the request of a healthcare provider.

During My Test

How long will I have to wait at a Patient Services Centre?

Wait times vary throughout the day. The busiest time typically is in the morning until about 10:30 a.m. This is because fasting patients typically arrive as early as possible. If your test does not require you to fast and you are able to arrive either later in the morning or in the afternoon, your wait time is likely to be shorter.

What will the lab ask me to do?

Your role in the performance of a lab test is to provide a specimen that will be analyzed in a laboratory. The specimen you provide might be a small amount of a body fluid, such as blood, saliva, semen or urine, or a sample of stool or hair. You can be assured that Gamma-Dynacare staff will make the specimen collection process as safe, quick and comfortable as possible while safeguarding your dignity and privacy.

How long will the test take?

Generally, a blood draw or urine collection takes about five to ten minutes. For some tests, you must stay longer in the Patient Service Centre or you may have to come back after a period of not eating or drinking.

Will the blood collection process hurt?

Our staff is professionally trained to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the collection process. If you have any concerns, our laboratory technicians will do their best to accommodate you.

Are you able to collect specimens from infants and children?

Gamma-Dynacare’s staff is professionally trained to ensure that all patients, including babies and other patients who may have special needs, are comfortable throughout the collection process.

After My Test

What happens to my specimen(s) after I leave the Patient Services Centre?

After your sample is collected, it is transported by a Gamma-Dynacare courier to one of our testing facilities, where it is processed and tested by highly qualified, provincially certified medical technologists and technicians using the latest methods and state-of-the-art instrumentation. Once results are obtained, they are promptly communicated to the requesting healthcare provider for consultation with you, the patient.

How are the results reported to my doctor?

All Gamma-Dynacare test results are printed on a computer-generated report form, which may be distributed with one of Gamma-Dynacare’s couriers or by fax. Some health care providers prefer to receive the information electronically, through a secure link between their computer system and our computer network. Any clinically significant abnormal results are promptly telephoned to your healthcare provider.

How soon will my healthcare provider receive my results?

Most routine test results are reported within 24 hours. Some tests require more time for processing or to allow for growth of micro-organisms; these results can take several days to weeks to report. Any clinically significant abnormal results are promptly telephoned to your healthcare provider.

Are my laboratory test results confidential?

All tests results are highly confidential. Gamma-Dynacare has strict guidelines to ensure that only the referring healthcare provider receives your test results. If your healthcare provider requests that we forward your results to another clinician, we will do so. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy, available on this web site.

Can you tell me my results?

In accordance with privacy legislation, when your healthcare practitioner has requested our laboratory services and has not authorized you to receive the results directly, we will not release your laboratory results directly to you, except in some exceptional circumstances. Laboratory test results can be meaningless or misleading in the absence of other findings by your healthcare provider. In addition, the law prevents us from releasing results if there is a reasonable likelihood that doing so could lead to injury (including the possibility of self-medicating). For all of these reasons, we strongly encourage you to obtain your laboratory test results directly from your healthcare provider.