Get the Blood Work You Want Without a Doctor’s Order4 minute read

In healthcare system, laboratory testing, medicine, patient education by Steven Kornweiss, MDLeave a Comment

It can be difficult to persuade some physicians to order the testing that you want. There are a few reasons for this, some of which I’ve previously discussed in a Facebook post.

My opinion is that the proper role for physicians in diagnostic testing is to make professional recommendations, not to be gatekeepers. Fortunately, you’re no longer dependent upon physicians to order lab work. Direct-to-consumer labs are available at affordable prices, and there is an increasing array of options.

In this article, I explain two of my favorites. At the end, I compare my lab prices with these direct-to-consumer options and explain how labs work within my practice.

Ownyourlabs.com

One of my favorite options is ownyourlabs.com, which was created by Dave Feldman and Siobhan Huggins, two citizen scientists who study the effects of certain nutritional interventions on blood lipids. You can see their interesting work at cholesterolcode.com. When you shop for labs on ownyourlabs.com, you’ll not only receive excellent prices, you’ll also be able to contribute your anonymized test results to their research database if you desire. With ownyourlabs.com, you’ll be able to select and pay for tests online, print your lab order form, find your nearest Labcorp for a blood draw, and receive your tests results via Labcorp’s online portal. No doctor is needed.

Here are some sample prices from ownyourlabs.com as of 4/1/21:

Analyte Price
CBC $7.35
CMP $8.75
Lipid Panel $8.75
Hemoglobin A1c $7.70
Vitamin D,25-Hydroxy $44.28
C-Reactive Protein, Cardiac $23.10
Insulin $12.60
Lipoprotein(a) $30.80
TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) $11.55

For anyone familiar with lab pricing, you’ll know these are excellent prices. If you agree to submit your anonymized data for research, you’ll get a 10% discount. The only other fees are a $5.60 fee for venipuncture (blood draw) and $0.25 Paypal checkout fee.

Pixel by Labcorp

Another option is pixel by Labcorp. Pixel works nearly the same way as ownyourlabs.com. You’ll choose and pay for tests online, go to a Labcorp patient service center for blood draw, and then access your results online. The only difference is that for some tests, Pixel also sells at-home kits for at-home lab collection.

Pixel is more expensive than ownyourlabs.com, and in most cases labs are sold as packages. Here are some sample prices as of 4/1/21:

Analyte Price
Women’s Panel – CBC, CMP, Lipid Panel, A1c, TSH, Urinalysis $190
Men’s Panel – CBC, CMP, Lipid Panel, A1c, Total Testosterone, Urinalysis $199

These prices do not compare favorably to ownyourlabs.com. In fact, the Women’s Panel less the urinalysis would be nearly one quarter the price at ownyourlabs.com.

Here is the calculation of the equivalent of the Pixel Women’s Panel but priced on ownyourlabs.com:

Analyte Price
CBC $7.35
CMP $8.75
Lipids $8.75
A1c $7.70
TSH $11.55
Venipuncture $5.60
Paypal Fee $0.25
Total $49.95
Total with 10% discount for submitting your anonymized lab data for research $45.54

How does this compare to labs in my practice?

Cost
Membership in my practice does not include the cost of third-party services like labs and imaging. My clients enjoy very low wholesale pass-through pricing on labs. Labs can also be billed to the client’s health insurance company at their request.

Accessibility
I typically order a customized panel of labs for each of my clients twice yearly. An example panel might include a CBC, CMP, fasting insulin level, CRP, TSH, urinalysis, homocysteine, Lipid panel, direct LDL, Apo B, and any additional labs that pertain to the health of an individual client.

In addition to these twice yearly evaluations, my clients can request any lab they’re interested in and I will price it for them and advise on whether or not I think it will be helpful. Ultimately, it is their choice whether or not we order the test. When traveling, patients can request labs and have them done at any Labcorp or Quest in the country.

Prices
Here are just a few examples of lab prices in my practice:

Analyte Price
CBC $2.00
CMP $3.40
Lipid Panel $2.50
A1c $2.25
TSH $2.50
Urinalysis, complete $1.40
Lp(a) $7.50
Vitamin D, 25-hydroxy $11.00
C-reactive protein, Cardiac $5.00
Insulin $3.50
Venipuncture Free
Additional Charges None

The equivalent of the Pixel Women’s Panel would cost my client $14.05 as against Pixel’s price of $190 or ownyourlabs.com price of $45.54.

The Process
When labs are ordered for one of my clients, an electronic order is placed, labs can be drawn and run at any Labcorp patient service center in the country, and results are delivered and interpreted by me at no additional charge. I provide in-depth analysis by tabulating and graphing my client’s lab results. You can see an example of how affordable, accessible, and carefully interpreted labs helped one of my clients cure her FHA.

Results
In addition to my analysis, my clients can also use the Labcorp patient portal to see their results. For clients who don’t live near a Labcorp, or who need a test that Labcorp does not offer, I have accounts with several major national labs including Quest and Genova, and several local labs in the Greenville, SC area where my practice is based.

More Information
If you’re interested in my practice, you can inquire about joining, read about my services, or look at up-to-date pricing information.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for questions about my practice or to obtain more information about direct-to-consumer labs.

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