Ho-Ho-Ho, Where Did My Specimens Go?

Some days it may feel like we’re living in the land of misfit toys, with customers complaining about lost specimens, admins attempting to track down couriers on their routes or fielding angry calls from physician offices wondering when your courier is going to come by for pick-up. In this article we’ll explore why specimens go missing, how to handle the situation, and how to move beyond those challenges.

Why specimens typically go missing

Like anything else, specimens can get misplaced.  In the course of a busy day when a courier has multiple stops and dozens of bags and boxes to pick-up/drop-off, there may be a situation where something was misplaced. Perhaps a specimen fell out of the cooler and into the car?  Or maybe the courier came by for pick up and was distracted by something else (like mail or other packages), and completely forget about the specimens, or maybe the physician staff forgot to place a specimen in the bin. It’s human nature, and when processes are manual, accidents can happen.

Handling lost specimens

Attempting to track down a lost specimen can sometimes be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  It’s a he-said, she-said situation and accountability comes into play, if processes are largely manual.  So, what do you do if a specimen goes missing?  Most importantly, stay calm.  Speak with the courier about their route, help them run through the course of the day with a series of questions to see if it can jog their memory.  Always check the vehicle first to rule out the possibility of a specimen falling out of a bag or cooler.

Fear not! These challenges can easily be overcome.

MCE was designed specifically for labs to help them track couriers and specimens as well as alleviate the burden of manually scheduling routes.  In fact, there are a number of measures and checkpoints in place to reduce instances of lost specimens that can be utilized on a real-time basis. For example:

  1. MCE will notify the courier at the drop-off point if a specimen wasn’t scanned.
  2. Signature capture at the pick-up point creates accountability for the customer and courier.
  3. Courier pickup from physician offices, and specimens delivered to the lab, are easily tracked and recorded to validate courier stops.
  4. When scanned, pick-up time is recorded, and the specimen is entered into MCE’s system for tracking delivery.

Learn More

With MCE we understand the complexities of courier management and specimen tracking, and in large part have developed MCE based on the feedback and input we’ve gathered over the years from lab customers. When couriers are armed with a mobile computing device like the Honeywell CT40, they can easily scan a barcode of the specimen and enter specimen count and sample identification to start the tracking process.  Along with the information gathered by the courier, key information such as pick-up time is recorded automatically by the system, and routes are optimized through GPS built into the system.

When MCE is implemented, it creates a chain of custody that is not labor intensive to manage and what takes hours or days to handle manually, takes just a few minutes with MCE. 

Are you ready to make a change to your environment?  Contact us today to learn how you can eliminate lost specimens and build a positive reputation for your couriers: 877-331-7427 x 101 or


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