What We Do

The Diagnostic Test Centre/Blood Collection Lab will take samples of your blood and will send them to be tested. The samples will be tested to learn more about your condition and help guide discussion about your diagnosis and treatment.

What to Expect

When you arrive at the Diagnostic Test Centre/Blood Collection Lab, check-in with the receptionist. To check-in, you need your:

  • Government-issued health card (OHIP card). If you do not have an OHIP card, please bring another form of government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license, passport, or other provincial health card).
  • Clinical trial or research requisition (if you have one).

After you check-in, we will give you a number. You can then sit down in the waiting area. While you wait, we will confirm that your orders are in the electronic patient record. If there are discrepancies, you will be notified. Within reason, we will take the appropriate actions to ensure the orders reflect the nature of your visit.

When it is your turn, we will call your number and direct to you a lab cubicle. The technician will ask your name, date of birth, and possibly your address. We do this to confirm identity so the proper testing will be done.

Then the technician will check your electronic orders and any written orders if you have a requisition. The technician will draw your blood sample by:

  • Tying a rubber band (or tourniquet) around your upper arm to make it easier to find a vein
  • Checking your inner elbow to find a vein
  • Cleaning the area where the needle will go in
  • Inserting the needle and drawing blood

The technician may fill several small vials or tubes with your blood. The same needle stays in your arm while the different vials are filled. The technician will release the tourniquet as the vials fill.

If you feel faint, dizzy or unwell at any time during the blood drawing process, tell the technician immediately.

When the technician has collected all the blood samples, they will remove the needle from your arm. The technician will ask you to press on the spot where the needle went in with some cotton batting. Press on the area without bending your arm – this will reduce bruising. If you notice bruising after you have left the hospital, put ice on the area.

Once any bleeding has stopped, the technician will put a bandage over the area. If you notice bleeding after you leave, please return to the Blood Collection Lab.

How Long Will it Take?

A visit to the Diagnostic Test Centre/Blood Collection Lab can take up to an hour, sometimes longer. The blood test itself only takes a few minutes, but sometimes the waiting area is busy.

We do our best to see you as soon as possible. Unfortunately, line-ups can be unpredictable. We recommend that you come prepared for delays.

Getting the Results

As soon as we get the results of your blood tests, they are automatically added to your Electronic Health Record. Results of urgent tests are usually available within an hour of collection. Results of routine tests may take 2-4 hours or longer. As soon as the results are in your health record, your team will be able to view them.​

 Materials and Resources to Help You

Resources from the Patient & Family Education Program PDF Icon

* These material(s) are also available in other languages.

Visit our Health Information section and find dedicated resources to help you understand your condition. Find the information​ you'r​e looking for.​​​​​​​​​

Holiday Hours

Toronto General Hospital
December 19 - 23: 7:00 am - 3:00 pm (regular hours)
December 28 - 30: 7:00 am - 3:00 pm (regular hours)

Toronto Western Hospital
December 19 - 23: 7:00 am - 3:00 pm (regular hours)
December 28 - 30: CLOSED

Princess Margaret
December 19 - 23: 7:00 am - 5:00 pm (regular hours)
December 28 - 30: 7:00 am - 5:00 pm (regular hours)

All sites resume regular hours on January 3, 2023.​

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