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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

In Arizona, No Doctor’s Note Needed For Blood Tests

Critics say the new law will lead to excessive testing, and leave the customers confused trying to interpret results. But labs that offer a new menu of tests say it puts healthcare firmly in the hands of the individual. (Neeta Lind/Flickr)

Critics say the new law will lead to excessive testing, and leave the customers confused trying to interpret results. But labs that offer a new menu of tests say it puts healthcare firmly in the hands of the individual. (Neeta Lind/Flickr)

A new Arizona law went into effect in July that allows people to get blood tests at the lab without a doctor’s orders.

Critics say it will lead to excessive testing, and leave the customers confused trying to interpret results. But labs that offer a new menu of tests say it puts healthcare firmly in the hands of the individual.

Dr. Robert Stern, medical director at Sonora Quest Laboratories in Phoenix, spoke with Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd about what the law means for the state’s healthcare customers. He¬†said the law and new test offerings¬†come partly as a response to America’s increasingly on-demand culture, as well as to many patients’ desire to empower themselves.

“Back in the old days, the doctor really was the one who ran the show and the patients sort of did as they were told,” he said. “Folks today have access to a lot of information – some good, some bad – and people want to be much more involved in their healthcare, at least some patients do. And we view these test offerings as a way to give people who want to be involved an opportunity to do that, and to do it in a responsible way.”

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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