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Testing is Essential for Diagnosis and Treatment Management
Medical detective work requires laboratory testing and diagnostic device results to sort out likely factors contributing to illness. It is important for you to understand that testing alone often is not definitive. Many of our patients are suffering from persistent conditions caused by tick bites (such as Lyme) that the CDC has determined can only be diagnosed “clinically” because there are no definitive tests for Lyme. We must rely on extensive clinical findings in association with test results to reach a diagnosis and monitor treatment.
In order to provide our patients with access to important specialized tests that are not generally available,we maintain a phlebotomy lab managed by experienced, certified personnel. For some of the specialized tests, we only collect a charge for drawing and processing the samples and the patient pays directly along with the sample shipment to the lab.
Our lab is directly connected to the major commercial labs, LabCorp and Quest. Depending on potential reimbursements and convenience, patients may elect to have OHP collect and process lab samples or take a requisition from OHP to a commercial lab. When a patient chooses to go to a commercial lab, we still must charge a small fee for preparing the lab requisition, monitoring the progress of test results and the physicians’ time spent reviewing the results. There is also a separate charge for actually drawing blood samples.
It is very important for patients to have some idea of the testing protocols that are generally faced by people with persistent and complex illnesses. These tests include specialized tests not generally available and tests that are readily available at commercial labs. Typical protocols for highly complex conditions may include:
For patients on long-term antibiotic therapy, an EKG is required and may be repeated as medically necessary. Patients who complain of cognitive issues will be required to take a computer-based neuropsychological cognitive test battery in the office.
We recognize that when you have laboratory tests you are often eager to learn the results. However, it is important that test results are interpreted in the context of your entire health picture. Our regular policy is to review all diagnostic testing at the time of your next scheduled appointment.
Whenever your physician deems that any of your results are medically significant or need to be addressed before your next scheduled visit, we will call you to schedule a telephone conference or office visit to discuss the results.
PLEASE do not call the office to ask for test results unless you have been asked to do so by our medical or office staff, or need to have results forwarded to another physician or health professional.
Neurocognitive testing has become a standard component of routine adult medical examinations for people over the age of 55. Such testing provides an objective view of five basic mental functions: memory, psychomotor speed, reaction time, complex attention and cognitive flexibility. Given a set of baseline measurements, one can keep track of changes due to illness and responses to treatment for underlying causes of decline. Many patients dealing with infection, inflammation and immune system compromise are acutely aware of changes in their mental abilities. Others are concerned about more subtle changes.
OHP has incorporated an on-line set of basic, scientifically validated objective tests to distinguish mild or subtle neurocognitive deficits compared to the normal population, and to establish a baseline neurocognitive status and as an aid in diagnosis and initial treatment. Compared over time, these measures help evaluate the progress of the illness, medication and treatment effects, and guide further therapy.