Order Processing Timelines
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​Test ordering priority classifications

Lab tests should be ordered according to the critical need for the result based on the patient’s clinical condition. Following these guidelines will ensure that lab tests are available to each individual according to their needs. Facilities with the ability to order lab tests electronically must indicate the desired priority at the time of entering the order. Those orders will be transmitted to the lab directly for prompt attention.  Outpatient requisitions must have the desired urgency indicated on the request.

Expected turnaround times for laboratory tests vary according to the urgency of the initial request.  Only those tests which are performed on-site can be resulted on a STAT basis. 


Collection immediately after order received.

  • Reserved for those situations of life-threatening (life and limb) medical emergency
  • Priority must be determined by the attending physician
  • STAT orders will be given priority over all other test requests
  • Results will be available within 60 minutes of ordering

Urgent (U)

Collection as soon as possible after order received.

  • Requests are processed as soon as possible upon receipt of the order in the lab
  • Results will be available within 3 hours of ordering

Timed (T)

Collected at time indicated.

  • Requests for specific inpatient collection times should be scheduled appropriately in the Meditech computer system
  • Refer to the Test Directory to determine the proper sample collection time for your patient
  • Nursing staff should make certain that inpatients are instructed to be in their room at the specified time
  • Outpatients must indicate date and time of last dose

Routine (R)

Collect at regular collection times.

  • Orders without any indication of priority are processed as Routine
  • No collection time is required to be entered for Routine
  • Inpatient specimens will be collected during a regular collection round
  • Most results will be available within 24 hours of receipt of the specimen in the lab for on-site testing


MoH     PCQO