Behind the Scenes: Know Who and Where Your Lab Results are Coming From

by Super User

Behind the Scenes: Know Who and Where Your Lab Results are Coming From

After blood is drawn, a tumor is removed, or a tissue sample is collected, the waiting begins. What’s found in that small specimen could dramatically change your life or allow you to breathe a sigh of relief. But where does that sample go and who is analyzing it? It’s a question you may not have considered, but it’s one that can impact everything from the time it takes to get results to the cost for service.

The medical professional who examines tissues and fluids for disease is a pathologist – a physician who typically works behind the scenes at a microscopic level.

Becoming a pathologist involves about 12 years of study beyond high school. After earning a bachelor’s degree, a pathologist completes four years of medical school, followed by a pathology residency, and then testing to earn a state license to practice. To sub-specialize in a field such as neurology, dermatology, or hematology, a pathologist also must complete a fellowship.

In addition to assuring the quality and accuracy of test results, pathologists are responsible for maintaining compliance with laboratory safety and licensing requirements. They follow standards set by accrediting organizations to validate and verify results.

A pathologist will know the answers to important questions about your health before anyone else. And there are benefits to requesting that your tests be reviewed by a local, independent pathologist such as:

·         Faster delivery of test results

·         More personalized attention

·         Lower costs of service

Regardless of where your pathologist is located, keep in mind that you can ask for a second opinion or verification of your results by another laboratory. Always request a copy of your pathology report and, if possible, have it explained to you. Gaining this understanding will help you explain your condition to others, assist you when researching your condition, and benefit you in the future should you move to a new location or begin working with a new physician.


There are several local, independent pathologists in Central Pennsylvania who are members of Medical Group of Pennsylvania. To find one, visit and click Find a Doctor.

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