After a blood test doc says make an appointment to discuss - bad?

Everytime I’ve had a bloodtest I get a call saying everything is ok, or your cholesterols is high come in. But my wife just got a call with “Please make an appointment to discuss it”.

Is this necessarily bad?

It probably means she might need to just start watching certain things a little more closely in the future or something.

They can’t really say anything specific over the phone due to privacy concerns. So there probably is something to discuss, but it doesn’t really mean she only has a few months to live.

When I had a blood test a while back, I was told to make a new appointment to discuss it. The discussion was that my potassium was a bit and that I should start eating more bananas.

As someone who found out that I had something bad via a phone call, I’d say it’s MUCH better to wait and go in. I think I would have been saved several days of misery had I found out from my doctor, in person, as opposed to on the phone, from a receptionist.

I do like my doc, but that was one thing he did that really was less than optimal.

I got one of those calls once. Voice mail message the day after a test asking me to set up an appointment. Fretted for the three days it took until I could go in. Turned out that the doctor wanted to do a hands-on examination periodically and felt that I was about due.

It would have been nice to know that was all it was in advance, but it did give me a chance to feel sorry for myself (imagining all the worst scenarios) for a while.

I mentioned it to the staff worker who had left the message who agreed with me that it could have been less stressful to me if he had mentioned that there was nothing abnormal in their request I come in.

(Then, to further the situation, the doctor walked in, I said “Hello” and he said “Good bye, Lare.” I immediately took this to mean that I was overdue to expire. He, it turns out, was trying to be amusing by observing that we were going to have a very short visit. Since there was nothing wrong with me. Except the ulcer and high blood pressure I was developing worrying about it.:))

It’s not necessarily bad news. I may be cynical, but it seems like my SOs doctors are dragging him into the office over every tiny thing because he’s really well insured.

Same doctor? Or even the same person making the call?

Different people will interpret an assignment to make an appointment with a patient differently. I wouldn’t spend a lot of time worrying.

I have high cholesterol, so I get bloodwork every six months. For a while, the doctor’s office would call to let me know the results were in, and ask to schedule an appointment to discuss the results.

After doing this a couple of times, I realized it was just a way for the doctor to bill the insurance company for an office visit. Now I ask them to tell me the results over the phone if they’re not significantly different than before.

So what should be the message policy if you only have two weeks to live?

They send you a message that they want you to pay your bill in advance.


it’s much better than getting a call saying please go to the emergency room immediately.

I’ve had that for my partner. He wasn’t answering the phone at home (not unusual for him) so the doctor called me and asked me to get him there right away.

Turns out a blood test he’d had the day before showed he’d had a heart attack. Further tests showed he hadn’t. He’s still alive and well two years later so I guess the test that showed he hadn’t could have been right. :slight_smile:

A little secret for those who may be getting bloodwork done in the future, at least this works at the lab I go to: There’s a spot on the form for an extra fax number. If you have a fax machine available to you, put that number there, ask the technician to put it in for you. You will get the results faxed to you at the same time as your doc. Even if you don’t understand all the numbers, there are reference ranges for all the values, and as long as everything is within normal limits, you’re golden, and you can look stuff up if it’s not.

I’m also weird, and wouldn’t necessarily panic if there were abnormalities, so YMMV and it’s probably not a good idea for everybody.

There all kinds of shades of “bad”. I am not a doc nor do we have enough information to predict. But there are plenty of mild “not good” things that might require a discussion. Let me give you an example:

A certain type of BP med can cause you to retain potassium. If your potassium levels came in high, your doc could ask you to come in to discuss options. This wouldn’t be anything to worry about if it were caught early. You’d just probably change meds.

I know this based on experience, but I’m willing to bet that there are tons of other mild “not good” things that would warrant a discussion.

I’d wait and see before getting too worried.

Good luck!

Good news and bad news.

Good news: You have two days to live.

Bad news: We got the results yesterday.

Depends. Did you want to have a baby? :smiley:

If they didn’t say “come in today” but “make an appointment” thenthere’s probably nothing really serious. Don’t stress about it, but don’t delay if you can help it.

I know that if someone found out we were doing this at my lab, we’d be in a whole lot of trouble. You’re entitled to see your own lab results, of course, but in our case there’s a process and it’s done through the medical records department, where they have you sign a form saying you want your results. Why? Because a lot of the time, it’s better to have the doctor around to explain your labs to you. Sometimes “abnormal” isn’t a big deal, and “normal” ranges don’t always tell the whole story. There are several tests with the word “Hepatitis” in the name - some checking for infection and some checking for immunity. It’s easy to read it and think OMG I have Hepatitis B, when in reality you’re just immune because of that vaccine you got 4 years ago.

I’m not saying people are stupid and can’t understand their own results, but there are reasons that labs do things the way they do, and it’s usually due to specific regulations, so please don’t try to get around things by being sneaky and putting a personal fax number down, pretending it’s your doctor’s. Just ask the lab what the procedure is for getting your results. It’s usually very simple.

We’re putting threads seeking medical information/advice/anecdotes in IMHO these days, so I’ll move this thither.

twickster, MPSIMS moderator

If they just say to make an appointment, rather than asking if you can come at x time in the next few days, it’s usually nothing to worry about. There are a lot of fairly small abnormalities that you really want to discuss, even if you’re not going to make an recommendations for medication or dietary changes or anything like that. Because if you just tell someone they have high/low giveadamnium levels, they’re going to go straight to the computer, fire up Google, and scare the living fuck out of themselves reading about all the rare side effects and worst-case scenarios.

I have to agree with Antigen on this. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you are allowed to see your own medical information, barring certain mental health data. That said, they will have you sign a form indicating that via the medical records department and I have never heard of anyone doing it differently. I’m not even sure they would agree to fax them to you even under those circumstances. If the lab is doing that without a consent form, they are opening themselves up to all kinds of liability.

After all, you probably have no idea when the lab will send the fax through. So what happens when your spouse or kid is standing by the fax machine when the results come through rather than you? What if it indicates you have two weeks to live? Do you really want your kid seeing that before you do? Now you can turn around and claim there was a HIPAA violation specifically because there was no signed consent form.

And what if the records get screwed up (which certainly happens) and you get faxed the medical record for someone else that says they are HIV positive or they have some highly contagious disease? How will your spouse or kid view that (when they don’t bother to look at the name at the top)? Now it’s double jeopardy because your spouse/kid got all bent out of shape for nothing (and you can still claim it was a HIPAA violation), and worse, someone else’s personally identifiable health information got sent to you. Ergo, they also have a case against the lab. If it had just accidentally gotten faxed to the wrong place at the hospital or a doctor’s office, they would have just routed it to the right place and there would be no problem because all the confidential data would stay internal. Now they have a huge potential lawsuit on their hands instead. Imagine if the records you received are for Charlie Sheen. Are you going to keep those confidential or try to sell them and make money? You can bet Mr. Sheen’s high power lawyers will have something to say about that to the tune of everyone’s ass getting sued into oblivion.