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6 Tips for Budgeting for Medical Courier Software
As we push through the final quarter of 2022, now is the time to utilize any remaining budget funds your medical lab may have. As healthcare continues to embrace digital transformations, adopting new technologies, like a courier software system, is always a smart way to spend your remaining budget. However, obtaining funds for new courier technologies can sometimes be difficult for labs. In this month’s blog we’ll discuss some tips for communicating the need for a courier technology like MCE to help gain budget approval.
Regardless of budgetary needs, you want to make sure you have established confidence and trust with decision makers. Difficult budget issues can arise quickly and unexpectedly. Being able to communicate in a timely and thoughtful manner requires you to maintain a high level of trust with administrators and remain transparent, collaborative, and inclusive. When confidence is strong, and trust is high, difficult discussions evolve into constructive and collaborative conversations. This requires regular, interactive communication such as monthly financial reporting, and regular check-ins with updates about what’s going well and what can be improved. When the need for a new courier software solution arises, having a difficult discussion about the budget will be much easier.
Understanding Your Audience
Every lab is unique because every person is unique. If you’ve ever wondered how so many companies in the exact same industry can be managed so differently it’s because of the difference in the people running it. It’s not to say that one way is necessarily better than another, but it is important to understand and respect that people operate and make decisions in different ways. The same is true for the final decision makers of your outreach budget. Understanding who your audience is and what type of information they require to decide if new technology is budget worthy is a major component of securing funds.
Is your outreach managed by a hospital system or an independent lab? Hospitals typically have more hoops to jump through for budget approvals and may require more homework to understand the process needed to secure funds. Are decision makers data and numbers oriented or are they more concerned with other factors? Who will be involved in the decision-making process? Owners, Executives, Lab Directors, Courier Managers, Information Technology Directors, Finance and Legal, may all have a say in the decision. Consider who will be a part of the decision making process and what type of data and information is needed to make your case.
Gathering Information About Your Medical Courier Operations
Before you even consider investigating new courier technologies you should first evaluate your current courier operations and establish some baseline information. Having information like the points listed below are helpful in painting an overall picture and scope of your courier operations. It also shows that you have done your homework, established reasons why this capital request is a need and not a want, and helps to foster further trust and confidence with decision makers.
Information to Gather:
- How many fulltime and/or part time couriers you employ
- How many routes are running and at what times
- How routes are created and managed
- How you ensure routes are optimized for milage and time
- How Stats are dispatched
- How much time is spent creating and managing routes
- How many specimens are picked up and delivered on a weekly basis
- How are specimens tracked to ensure successful pickup and delivery
- How you verify couriers are at site at appropriate times
- How often you receive customer complaints about couriers and/or missing specimens
- How many specimens go missing on a weekly/monthly basis
- How much time is spent looking for lost or missing specimens in your lab
- What is the cost associated with lost or missing specimens (see Calculating the Cost of Missing Specimens for putting a cost figure together)
- How many supplies are picked up and delivered on a weekly basis
- How supplies are tracked to ensure pickup and delivery
- If you are using another solution system, what issues are making you consider a switch, where does that system fall short, and what are the costs associated with that system
- List of customers lost or are on the verge of losing due to inefficient courier management
- What areas customers think can be improved
- What areas couriers think can be improved
- What areas receiving think can be improved
- What areas customer service think can be improved
- What areas administrators and dispatchers think can be improved
- How much time is spent managing courier operations daily & what is the cost associated
- Is your lab experiencing growth or expected growth and what will that mean for courier operations
- What are competitors doing better regarding courier operations
- What are the top priority requirements are for a new system
- What other factors are important to paint a picture of need to gain approval
Once you’ve obtained this information you will not only have baseline information to put together a presentation for decision makers, but you will also have a great starting point for developing questions you should ask of new technologies you investigate.
Evaluating Medical Courier Technology Options
There is no shortage of technologies focusing on general courier and logistic operations in the market. A quick search online will prove this. However, lab outreach, and specifically medical courier services, do not fit the corporate mold that most courier and logistical systems are designed for. In working with labs across the U.S. that are using a generic courier management tool, we very often hear about the limitation of those systems to meet the unique needs of medical couriers, which therefore, leave couriers and administrators frustrated. With that in mind here are some general questions you should consider as you evaluate each vendors solution:
- What industry are most of your customers associated with (Healthcare, Industrial, Food, Government, Legal, etc. )
- How many medical labs use your product
- Is your system flexible to meet our unique needs or do we have to use it as is
- How often are updates and new features added
- When was the last time a new feature was added and what was it
- Do you consider customized new features and is there a charge
- How much involvement from IT is needed to implement this product
- Is your system capable of integrating with other systems
- What are the technical specifications
- How long does the implementation of the product take
- Do you have other labs we could contact as a reference
- Does your system collect patient data and are you HIPPA Compliant
- Is the system a fit for the size of our courier operations
- What can we expect for support if we run into issues
- When was your product developed
- What type of hardware is required
- What type of technical requirements are required
- What type of reports are available and are they customizable
- Do features meet our operations basic and core needs for courier operations (routing, specimen tracking, supply tracking, customer service, reporting, etc.)
- Are costs for the system reasonable and competitive for what is being offered
Once you find a vendor, like MCE, that you feel is a knowledgeable and trustworthy provider of medical courier technologies, you will want to see a demo of the product to make sure it offers the features needed to improve current operations, and ensure it is intuitive to use. Every lab is unique so you will want a system that is flexible enough to meet your needs and not force you into a box. Here However, in general most medical courier operations will need these core functions:
- Optimized Routing
- Scheduling Time Windows
- Courier Tracking
- Date/Time Stamped Site visits
- Specimen Tracking
- Missing Specimen Alerts
- Supply Tracking
Consider Courier Mobile Hardware
While some generic courier systems utilize consumer mobile devices to run courier operations, we typically advise against this. Consumer devices lack longevity, battery life, scanning capability, and overall durability that enterprise grade devices have. Mobile computers like the Zebra TC26 are built for working environments and are lightning fast at scanning specimen barcodes. These devices will make your couriers much more efficient at moving between customer sites and are still competitively priced against consumer devices.
Present & Set Expectations
Every medical lab is unique in their operations, and likewise overall strategic goals will be unique. As a lab director or courier administer who believes a courier management system is necessary for improved operations, it will be your responsibility to effectively communicate that need and demonstrate how funding fits into the company’s overall goals.
The final step in making your case for a medical courier software system is putting your information together in a presentable format that supports your need. Using Excel, you can create charts displaying your current operating costs vs. expected costs with the new technology. You can also list efficiencies a new system like MCE can create and assign a cost savings to those points.
For other types of data such as customer complaints or staff’s recommendations for improvement, you can create a chart that categorizes issues by importance and list what cost savings would be realized by resolving those issues. Visual charts for dollar figures are always helpful.
Finally, when making your recommendation remember to set expectation for implementation goals. Would you like to have a system implemented within next month or the next year? This is also where you can collaborate with decision makers to understand their points of view and answer questions. Ultimately, you want to get a consensus on the direction to take to move forward and set an implementation timeline.
Medical Labs that are successful in securing capital for technologies like MCE think strategically about the vision and goals set for medical courier operations, communicating those goals to administrators, and seeing through the actualization of those goals. If your lab is interested in implementing a courier software solution to improve your medical courier operations, contact MCE today.
Let Us Know How We Can Help
Thanks for your interest in Medical Courier Elite! If you're interested in learning more about our solution and how it can help your business, we'd be happy to schedule a demo, provide a quote or answer any questions you may have.
181 East Evans St. | Florence, SC, 29506
Phone: 843-656-2084 or 877-331-7427