Thirstier than usual lately? Feeling dizzy or tired? Worried you picked up a parasite on your last vacation? It seems like a consultation with the doctor is definitely in your future, but an accurate diagnosis may require a bit more (and it might even pinch, but just a little). “Laboratory tests offer a critical window into a patient’s health and well-being,” says 98point6 product physician, Mark Chen, MD. “Analyzing blood and urine samples helps doctors make informed decisions about patient care, from diagnosing illness to maintaining long-term health.”

Whether you’re feeling unwell, concerned you may have inherited Dad’s high cholesterol, or it’s just been a while since your last workup, you’ll still need to schedule a visit to your friendly neighborhood diagnostic lab. But the good news (Yes! There is good news!) is that 98point6 physicians can now conveniently order blood, urine and stool tests during your chat. Which means you won’t have to rearrange your busy schedule to accommodate up to two in-person doctor visits (one to order the labs, one to get the results).

Read on for a look at why these tests matter so much anyway—and how 98point6 has made the process easier and more convenient than ever.

Why are lab tests important?

“Lab tests are used to evaluate and monitor changes in your health,” says Dr. Chen. Doctors order these tests as part of a routine checkup (as a way to catch problems or diseases early on), or to gather more information to assess symptoms you’re experiencing. For instance, your physician can use lab test results to determine if your thyroid is underperforming, if you have an STI (sexually transmitted infection) or if you’re developing a chronic disease like diabetes. “Based on the findings, we can better recommend necessary treatments and lifestyle modifications,” explains Dr. Chen.

I’m healthy. Do I need any routine tests?

It depends on your age and individual medical profile.“Generally speaking, even if you have no medical issues, occasional blood testing to monitor the status of cholesterol and blood sugar is a good idea to establish a baseline of what’s in the normal range for you, plus tailor lifestyle and diet as needed,” says Dr. Chen. The kind of tests you need and how often you need them should always be part of a larger conversation between you (the patient) and a physician, who can help guide you through your results. “Certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes, are quite complex and may require more frequent monitoring—which translates to more frequent blood tests,” Dr. Chen adds.

How can I get labs ordered through 98point6?

It’s easy! Just sign in to 98point6 at your convenience and start chatting with one of our physicians. He or she will order a test if one is necessary, and you can get it done at the nearest Quest Diagnostics facility. When your results are ready (usually one to three days later), a 98point6 physician will contact you to review the findings. The physician will let you know if there’s enough information for a diagnosis and treatment plan, or if you need to visit your primary care doctor or another medical specialist.

Think you might need a lab? Chat with a 98point6 doctor now to find out.