Patient Experience

Knowing what to expect on your visit to our branch will help to make your experience more comfortable

Once your doctor, healthcare worker or insurance company has referred you to PathCare, here is what you can expect:

Regardless of the nature of your visit, professional staff will ensure that your experience is as convenient and quick as possible at our branches across South Africa, Namibia and Kenya. Whether we are collecting a specimen from you or you are merely delivering a specimen – a nursing sister or a qualified phlebotomist will always be available to help you.

Testing your blood

When you give or receive blood, you can be sure that we take great care with every unit or specimen we handle. Take a journey behind the scenes in the blood bank to meet the pathologists who examine blood samples and guarantee accuracy and quality you can count on every time.

Each visit at any of our branches 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 personal 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 processed.
  • 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 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.

From biopsy to diagnosis:

An abnormal mammogram left Kathy West fearful of the unknown. Did she have breast cancer? A collaboration between Kathy’s pathologist and a surgeon played a key role in making an accurate diagnosis and guiding the next steps in her care.

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 that this is communicated only to those you have authorised us to share them with.

Useful concepts to know

Understanding our terminology will give you added comfort, 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 branch 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 complete 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.

Laboratory tests for screening of disease

Even when you’re not sick, you have probably undergone many of the most common laboratory tests just to make sure you are healthy.

What type of specimen is collected and/or delivered to our reception sites?

We have over 160 PathCare specimen receptions across South Africa, Namibia and Kenya.

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 branches to have specimens collected.

The most commonly collected specimen at our reception sites are blood, urine and sputum. For more sensitive specimens, such as stool and semen, patients can collect the specimen in specialised jars in the privacy of their homes for delivery within the required timeframe and conditions, at any of the PathCare specimen reception site.