Variety of lab tests that can be used after telehealth appointment

What if I need a lab test after my telehealth visit?

Updated December 8, 2023. Written by Theresa Vuskovich, DMD. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Telehealth visits simplify talking with your healthcare provider. Telehealth is the practice of receiving health services remotely using technology [1]. But you may be wondering, “What if I need a lab test after my telehealth visit?” This article provides an overview of lab tests, why you need them, and how to get them.

What are lab tests?

Lab tests examine blood, urine, or other bodily fluids, referred to as samples [2,3]. The samples are then checked for analytes, substances in your body that can be measured [3]. Lab tests may measure one analyte, but samples are often used to test for multiple analytes. Lab tests are often referred to as panels or blood panels when multiple analytes are analyzed.

Lab tests help you stay on top of your health by monitoring changes in your body. If you are going to have surgery or medical treatment, your healthcare provider may request that you get a blood panel. Lab tests are also routinely prescribed after a telehealth visit to evaluate your health status.

Why do you need lab tests?

The results of your blood work provide valuable information about your health. Lab test results affect 60–70% of healthcare provider decisions [4]. Here are four reasons why you need a lab test [3]:

  1. Diagnosing: finding out if you have a medical condition
  2. Monitoring: measuring the effects of a drug, keeping track of chronic disease progression, and evaluating treatment progress
  3. Screening: identifying if you are at risk for a disease
  4. Researching: understanding the cause of a disease

Receiving a diagnosis may require multiple telehealth visits, lab tests, or in-person visits. Your lab test needs will vary based on your medical conditions, disease risk factors, and age. Some lab tests get more frequent with age or may change.

What are the most common lab tests you need?

Now that you know the basics of lab tests, let's talk about the most commonly recommended ones. Your healthcare provider may recommend other lab tests, but the following are some of the most popular types of lab tests [5-10]. All of the lab tests discussed below are blood panels:

  1. Complete Blood Count (CBC): A CBC measures red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Unhealthy levels of red blood cells may be a sign of anemia, heart disease, or iron deficiency. A low white cell count may be low because of an autoimmune disorder, bone marrow disorder, or cancer. High white cell counts can indicate infection or medication reaction. Your healthcare provider may request a CBC with a differential, meaning your provider wants a CBC with a detailed report of all types of WBCs in your blood.
  2. Lipid panel: This test measures your blood cholesterol and fats. Every single cell in your body contains cholesterol, a waxy substance similar to fat. Your liver makes cholesterol, but foods high in dietary fat can make your liver produce more cholesterol than your body needs. This results in cholesterol building up in your arteries, increasing your heart disease and stroke risk.
  3. Basic metabolic panel (BMP): A BMP is also called a Chem 7 or an electrolyte panel. A BMP tells you how your body processes food and uses energy by measuring glucose, calcium, sodium, potassium, and other substances in your blood. A BMP is used to check your kidney function, metabolism, electrolyte balance, and blood sugar levels. You will need a BMP during routine checkups and when you have chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or kidney disease.
  4. Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP): A CMP or Chem 14 measures the same substances as the basic metabolic panel and 7 other substances. A CMP is used to measure your liver health, metabolism, and blood protein levels. Monitoring the side effects of certain medications may require a CMP.

Which lab tests require fasting?

Some lab tests may require fasting, which means you can't eat or drink for 8–12 hours before the test. Talk to your healthcare provider about what tests you need and the amount of time you need to fast. Fasting is usually required for the following lab tests [7-10]:

  • Basic metabolic panel
  • Comprehensive metabolic panel
  • Lipid panel
  • Fasting blood sugar test
  • Glucose tolerance test

How can you get a lab test?

After learning about some common lab tests your healthcare provider might order, let's discuss how and where you can have lab tests. You can have lab tests completed for your telehealth visit in three different ways.

Option 1: Healthcare provider's office

Your healthcare provider's office usually has a lab for blood draws, so it's easy to schedule a test. Depending on the clinic, you might have to see a healthcare provider first, though. As a result, you might have an additional office visit fee.

Option 2: Walk-in clinic

You can get labs done at a walk-in clinic. Walk-in clinics often have lower prices than other clinics. Online appointment scheduling and minimal wait time are some of the pros of walk-in clinics. However, if the walk-in clinic is busy and you don't make an appointment, you might have to wait.

Option 3: At-home

At-home testing is beneficial because you don't have to wait in line and you don't have to worry about becoming ill or spreading an illness by visiting a clinic. However, you may need multiple tests depending on which lab test results your healthcare provider needs. Additionally, some tests may not be available at home. You can browse all of Everlywell's at-home lab tests here, or enroll in Everlywell+ monthly testing membership here. Everlywell+ membership gives you access to over 25 lab tests you can take as often as once a month. Check in on key biomarkers regularly and invest in your wellness year-round!

How quickly do you receive lab results?

The time it takes to receive your lab results varies according to the lab's locations, the number of tests requested, and the quality of the sample. Typically, you can receive results in 1 to 3 days. The results of some rapid tests, such as those used for COVID-19 or flu, can be obtained within minutes.

Does insurance cover lab tests?

Yes, many insurances cover lab tests. It is important to check with your insurance to see which tests are covered and how frequently they will cover them. This may vary based on your plan, medical conditions, and age. Lab tests completed at home may not be covered by insurance, but they are generally less expensive than those completed at other locations and are covered by your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA).

Everlywell offers lab tests and telehealth visits

With EverlyWell, you can keep track of your health from home. Everlywell simplifies the process of getting lab tests, receiving lab results, and visiting healthcare providers. You can spend less time worrying about your health and more time enjoying your life.

Everlywell offers at-home lab tests plus telehealth visits. Your telehealth provider can help you figure out which at-home lab test is right for you. You can order one of many at-home lab test kits in the comfort of your home and submit the samples to Everlywell's CLIA-certified lab. Board-certified medical professionals review your results, and the results are returned to you conveniently online. Having access to your results allows you to keep track of your health over time. You can also save on tests when you enroll in Everlywell+. Test key health metrics on a regular basis and at a discounted price!

Everlywell telehealth allows you to see a healthcare provider whenever and wherever you want. You can discuss your lab results with your telehealth provider and what they mean for your health. Using your lab results, they can develop a healthy lifestyle plan for you.

To learn more about scheduling a telehealth visit, visit Everlywell's online virtual care page.

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  1. What is telehealth? CCHP. URL. Published January 25, 2021. Accessed January 24, 2023.
  2. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. National Cancer Institute. URL. Published February 2, 2011. Accessed January 24, 2023.
  3. Wians FH Jr. Clinical laboratory tests: Which, why, and what do the results mean? Lab Med. 2009;40(2):105-113. doi:10.1309/lm4o4l0hhutwwudd. URL.
  4. Sikaris KA. Enhancing the Clinical Value of Medical Laboratory Testing. Clin Biochem Rev. 2017;38(3):107-114. URL.
  5. Lab test: Complete Blood Count. Merck Manuals Consumer Version. URL. Accessed January 24, 2023.
  6. Blood tests. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Insitute.URL. Accessed January 21, 2023.
  7. Diabetes tests. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Published January 20, 2023. Accessed January 25, 2023.
  8. Lab test: Basic metabolic panel (BMP). Merck Manuals Consumer Version. URL. Accessed January 25, 2023.
  9. Lab test: Cholesterol levels. Merck Manuals Consumer Version. URL. Accessed January 25, 2023.
  10. Lab test: Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP). Merck Manuals Consumer Version. URL Accessed January 25, 2023.

Originally published January 27, 2023

Theresa Vuskovich is a dentist and public health expert with over 10 years of experience. Dr. Vuskovich is skilled in patient education, medical affairs, sleep medicine, stroke prevention, medications, and other health and wellness topics. She holds a BS, MPH, and DMD.

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