Glossary

Here some of the terms we use at Wellington SCL to describe our services and processes.

Common terminology

Reference intervals

Reference intervals compare a patient’s results with the reference range for that test. The ‘reference interval’ used to be referred to as the ‘normal range’.

Ranges quoted by laboratories represent the values found in 95 per cent of people in the chosen ‘reference interval’. This gives the best approximation of values to be expected in healthy subjects but there will always be some overlap with values found in subjects with disease.

The bigger the deviation of a result from an upper or lower limit of a reference interval, the more likely it is a true abnormal result. 

Uncertainty of measurement

Uncertainty of measurement describes the windows above and below a measurement result. It defines the range of values in which the true value is estimated to lie.

The uncertainty of measurement is calculated for every test we report -- where it is possible and relevant to do so.  It is not presented to requesting practitioners on the report form but it can be provided if requested.

Turnaround time

The turnaround time is the time between the arrival of the specimen at Wellington SCL and our reporting test results to the practitioner.

Turnaround times for tests other than histology are in the Pathology Test Guide.

Specimens received during the weekend or those requiring additional testing may take longer than stated times.

Histology turnaround times

The majority of routine histology samples are processed and reported within 10 working days.

More complex specimens -- those needing additional testing or cases referred for additional opinions -- may take longer.

If there are likely to be significant delays, the reporting pathologist may discuss the case and the reason for the delay with the referring practitioner, or may issue a preliminary report.