What is a clinical laboratory?

For the most part, a medical or clinical laboratory is an important location where tests are carried out on medical specimens (otherwise known as patient samples), like blood, for example, and then the results are analysed. Tests are done to collect specific health data related to the patient’s diagnosis, care plan, and for the prevention of disease.

Clinical laboratory staff may include pathologists, clinical biochemists, the pathologist’s assistant, medical laboratory scientists, medical laboratory assistants, and phlebotomists.

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Laboratory testing can be very important in determining what is wrong with an individual patient. There are many scenarios in which doctors and patients require medical testing and the use of clinical laboratory services.

In other cases, though, your doctor might not have access to specialist equipment needed for a particular test, so they will refer you to a lab or hospital for testing. One scenario could be that your doctor thinks you might have arthritis as you are experiencing some symptoms. Some tests are done in the hospital by specialists and not by your primary care physician. You’ll go to the hospital to have the procedure performed, the specimen will be sent to a clinical laboratory for testing and analysis, and the results should be sent to your doctor.

Sometimes a lab will need to be relocated and as you can imagine, it’s a huge task to move all that sensitive and expensive equipment. For such a delicate process, it’s common for labs to use professional Lab Relocation Services. For more information on Lab Relocation Services, visit a site like Aport Global.

What other types of patient samples are tested in clinical laboratories?

Depending on your doctor’s recommendations and what is happening with your health, your doctor may order one or more diagnostic tests that may require one or more specific patient samples.

Some common examples of patient specimens include:


blood cultures

biopsy material


ear swabs

eye swabs

stool samples

Fungal samples of hair, nails, skin

nasal swab

throat swab


wound swabs

What kinds of tests are carried out in clinical laboratories?

Common tests include:

Complete blood count

metabolic panel (blood glucose, hemoglobin, liver and kidney function)

lipid panel (cholesterol, triglycerides)

Thyroid test

testing for bone loss – urine analysis

adrenal stress testing

Detection of Candida (yeast overgrowth)

Comprehensive Stool Analysis for digestion analysis and bacterial / yeast overgrowth

Essential Fatty Acids Analysis

estrogen metabolites

fertility testing

Food Allergy Testing

Heavy Metal Test urine

Liver Detoxification Panel

Plasma Amino Acids

Urine Hormone Testing

Urine Organic Acid

Vitamin and Mineral Analysis

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As you can see, there is an awful lot of work goes on in a clinical or medical laboratory. So, in future when you hear your doctor announce that they ‘will send it off to the lab’, the laboratory will not be such a mysterious concept!

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