Ordering lab tests
I want to be able to order lab tests. What do I need to know?
All community pharmacists with a PRAC ID may register to order lab tests.
How do I register for a PRAC ID?
Pharmacists, like all practitioners and allied practitioners, must complete and submit the Practitioner/Allied Practitioners Information form AHC11234 found on the Health professional business forms page on the Alberta Health website. Instructions on how to complete the AHC11234 form are on the same Alberta Health webpage under the link to the form.
Completed forms may be submitted to the Provider Relationship and Claims unit at Alberta Health by
- fax: 780-422-3552; or
- email: Health.Pracforms@gov.ab.ca.
For more information, contact the Provider Relationship and Claims unit at the above email address or by phone at 780-422-1522 (or toll-free at 310-0000, then 780-422-1522 at the prompt).
Pharmacists employed by Alberta Health Services (AHS) should contact AHS Pharmacy Services for information on how to register and order lab tests.
Know the standards
The Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians include the pharmacist's responsibility to consider appropriate information for each patient (Standard 3). This includes the ordering of laboratory tests. It is your responsibility to become familiar with the standards and guidelines before you begin ordering lab tests. In October 2018, ACP introduced new standards for laboratory and point of care testing:
- Standards of Practice - Laboratory and Point-of-Care Testing (POCT)
- Guidance for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians - Laboratory and Point-of-Care Testing (POCT)
Have a plan for receiving results
Results for all lab tests ordered by pharmacists will be available via Netcare in the same way as results for tests ordered by other health professionals. However, to ensure timely responses and follow-ups for tests you have ordered, you will be required to provide the lab with information regarding how results can be received in your workplace.
- If you work in an AHS facility, a PCN, or a physician’s office where other health professionals are already receiving results, you can likely receive results for the tests you order via the same method as other health professionals. It is your responsibility to consult with your work location to determine whether results for the tests you order can be received and whether there are any additional workplace requirements to do so.
- If you work in a community pharmacy that is in, or adjacent to, a physician’s clinic, you may be able to receive results via the same method as the clinic.
- If you work in a community pharmacy in another location, you must arrange with the lab to have results delivered.
For additional information, or if you need assistance in determining how you will receive results, please contact the lab you are registering with.
24/7 coverage required
As indicated in the ACP standards and guidelines, pharmacists must have a system in place to ensure appropriate follow-up of critical results for lab tests they order on a 24-hour, seven-days-per-week basis. You may feel that you are able to provide 24/7 coverage; however, there are times when all of us are indisposed or unavailable. For this reason, you are encouraged to consider developing agreements, partnerships, or arrangements, such as on-call groups, with other pharmacist or physician colleagues to meet this requirement.
- If you work in an AHS facility, a PCN, or a physician’s office where other health professionals are already receiving critical results, you may be able to provide after-hours coverage via the same method as other health professionals. It is your responsibility to consult with your work location to determine whether this is possible.
- If you work in a community pharmacy, you may need to establish an on-call schedule with other pharmacists who work with you. Alternatively, you may wish to develop partnerships or on-call groups with other pharmacists, other pharmacies, or physician colleagues.
After-hours emergency contact information must be made available to the lab at the time of registration or must be available via a messaging service at your regular contact number. Lab representatives will not leave information regarding critical results on answering machines or voicemail.
How to register
Information and a registration package for all labs are available on the Alberta Health Services website.
The area of the province where you live and where you work will determine which lab(s) you need to register with.
1. Community pharmacists in the following areas must register with DynaLifeDX:
- Edmonton and surrounding areas including Beaumont, Evansburg, Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, and Spruce Grove;
- Fort McMurray;
- High Level and area including La Crete and Ft. Vermilion;
- Lloydminster; and
- Red Deer.
Information and a registration package are available via the Community Pharmacists – Edmonton Zone link on the AHS website.
2. Community and AHS pharmacists in the following areas must register with Calgary Lab Services (CLS):
- High River,
- Strathmore, and
Information and a registration package are available via the AHS and Community Pharmacists – Calgary Zone link on the AHS website.
3. Community and AHS pharmacists in all other areas of the province (i.e., rural/suburban communities) must register with AHS regional labs. Information and a registration package are available via the AHS and Community Pharmacists – North, Central, and South Zones on the AHS website.
4. AHS pharmacists in the Edmonton zone must register with Edmonton AHS lab.
Information and a registration package are available via the AHS Pharmacists – Edmonton Zone link on the AHS website.
5. AHS pharmacists in all areas of the province who will order lab tests for inpatients will be provided with information from AHS Pharmacy Services regarding guidelines and how to register with AHS labs.
6. Across AHS, the Laboratory has multiple Laboratory Information Systems requiring the ordering pharmacist to be set up in each system. If the pharmacist works across different zones, they must reach out and register in all zones in which they will be ordering lab tests.