The PathCare Experience
Your doctor, healthcare worker or insurance company has referred you to PathCare. Here’s what you can expect:Regardless of the nature of your visit to our depots professional staff will ensure that your experience is as convenient and quick as possible at our depots across South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Nigeria. Whether we are collecting a specimen from you or you are merely delivering a specimen – a nursing sister or a qualified phlebotomist is available to help you. Each visit at any of our depots is streamlined to two or three straightforward steps:
- Patient data capture – onto a secure electronic register. Once we have your details on our system your next visit will be even quicker. Provide us with your national identification number and in future by just giving us this we can access all the information we have stored. This data, the tests requested and any required consent will be confirmed and requested.
- Specimen collection – the nursing sister or phlebotomist will collect the specimen and label it with your initials, surname and ID number in front of you. Your specimen is then packaged and prepared for courier to a PathCare laboratory for testing. After testing we’ll deliver your laboratory results to the referring doctor or insurance company. They, in turn, will communicate directly with you.
- Accounts payment – we will send you your account as well as a copy to your medical aid if you are a member of one. By settling your account at the visit you may qualify for a cash discount.
We understand that undergoing medical treatment can be stressful, that is why we strive to create a comfortable experience and to give you peace of mind by treating your information respectfully and professionally at all times. We also strive to communicate your results promptly and this is sent only to those you have authorised us to share them with.
Useful concepts to know
Knowing what to expect on your visit to our depots will help to make your experience more comfortable. But also understanding our terminology will give you added comfort. So, below we unpack some of our industry jargon and concepts:
What does a phlebotomist do?
A “phlebotomy technician” is a professional who is qualified to draw blood from a patient. He/she has received training at our very own PathCare Training Academy and is registered with the country’s Health Professions Council. A phlebotomist at a PathCare depot undertakes the following procedures when drawing blood from a patient:
- He/she will put a tourniquet around your arm so that the vein stands out. He/she will clean the area with an alcohol swab, insert a small needle into the vein, connect the collecting tube(s) to the needle and draw the blood necessary to perform the investigations requested by your treating doctor.
- Once done, he/she will remove the tourniquet and put pressure on the puncture area with a cotton wool ball. He/she will write your initials, surname and ID number on the tube and label the tubes. In addition, the phlebotomist will fill out a laboratory test request form with a unique barcode number that belongs only to you. The form, together with the tubes will be put in a specimen bag and couriered to a PathCare laboratory for testing.
- The phlebotomist will put a piece of plaster over the cotton wool ball and escort you back to the reception area where our reception staff will assist you with account payment should you not belong to a medical aid.
What type of specimen is collected and/or delivered?
Some medical practitioners in private practice collect patient specimen themselves for delivery to our laboratories. However, most medical practitioners will refer their patients to PathCare depots to have specimens collected. We have over 120 PathCare specimen receptions across South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Nigeria.
The most commonly collected specimen at our reception sites are blood, urine and sputum. For more sensitive specimens, such as stool and semen, patients collect the specimen in specialised jars, in the privacy of their homes, for delivery within the required timeframes and conditions at any of the PathCare specimen receptions.