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The Importance of Finding a Flexible Medical Courier Software
If you’ve seen one medical lab, you’ve seen one medical lab. While there can be some generalizations among diagnostic laboratories most vary greatly in how operations are managed as a whole. This is especially true of courier operations and specimen tracking. While some labs outsource specimen pick-ups, others employ and manage their own couriers, and some labs do a mix of both. Regarding specimens, some labs want to track every sample, some none, and some labs only track specimens that are irreplaceable.
For medical outreach labs who manage courier operations internally, it should be appreciated that management styles and customer needs differ. Appreciating and understanding those differences is the foundation for creating flexibility for any software system dealing with workflows. Placing courier operations in a box with disregard for user diversity may lead to inefficiencies, lost dollars, or bigger problems to solve down the road.
No matter how you slice it, if you manage couriers for specimen transportation, utilizing a software system to do so should never force you into a box of one-size-fits-all. A medical courier system should always be flexible enough to meet your diagnostic labs unique operational model or needs. Keeping this is mind, it’s important to evaluate and understand what your current courier workflows are, what the core needs of your lab are from courier operations and decide what workflow changes need to be made to improve courier operations first internally.
Evaluating Your Medical Courier Operation Needs Internally First
There are many factors that influence courier operations within medical laboratories. That is why before you start researching courier software solutions, it’s important to make sure you first completely understand the ins-and-outs of your current courier operations to better evaluate software systems. With nearly 20 years’ experience of partnering with labs, below are the top 7 areas that labs should evaluate internally to understand what you may need out of a courier software system.
- Number of Couriers to Manage
- Courier Routing & Tracking Needs
- Customer Needs
- Specimen Tracking Needs
- Realtime Specimen Volume Expectancy
- Management & Reporting Requirements
- IT Resources
- LIS and/or CRM System Integration Needs
Every lab could provide contrasting examples of their current needs for each of these areas. To make sure each area is thoroughly covered, Labs should take the time to survey couriers, dispatchers, IT and lab administrators, customers, and specimen receiving to understand how specimen pick-up and deliveries effect each department and what they would like to see improved. If lab directors and courier managers carefully think about what their level of needs are for each of these operational points, they would have a better foundation for evaluating courier software systems to determine which solutions best fit their workflow and management requirements.
Evaluating Courier Software to Ensure Flexibility for Medical Lab Needs – Questions to Ask
There is no shortage of generalized courier solutions in the market, however, most of these systems are designed for delivery services such as mail, food, retail, etc. While these systems are adequate for those types of services, they really don’t fit the model or diversity for medical couriers.
Specimen transportation and medical courier management demands a completely different workflow and set of requirements than most general courier systems are intended for. Finding a system that is designed for the unique needs of medical courier operations is the first hurdle most labs will face. However, if you’ve done your due diligence and evaluated your current courier workflows and operational needs then you have a base point for setting expectations for a system that meets your unique processes.
In your assessment of courier software systems and discussion with vendors we highly recommend labs request a live demo where they can review the system in detail and ask questions. During your demo is the time where you can get a good feel for the vendors experience with medical labs and how flexible their system is to meet your needs. Here are a few examples of questions you should start with:
- How well do you understand medical courier operations?
- How many medical labs currently utilize your courier system?
- How many couriers does your largest customer have on your system, and how many does your smallest customer have?
- How long have your medical lab customers utilized your system?
Starting with these basic questions will give you a good idea regarding how well the vendor knows your industry and medical courier operations.
Next, you can start diving into deeper questions during the demo to see if the system is flexible enough to meet your expectations. These questions should be very specific to your labs needs and be based off your internal evaluation. Example questions could be:
- We have X number of couriers and need to optimize routes for fuel savings, how does your system handle that?
- We need dispatching at the customer/administrative level, or automated into routes, how does this work in your system?
- We need to provide customers or lab administrators with X reports, can this be generated in your system?
- Our staff needs to know how many specimens are in route to prepare, can your system provide this information?
- Our lab wants to track all/some/no specimens with barcodes, can we do this in your system?
- We want to utilize barcodes in X manner, can this be done in your system?
- We need certain integrations into other lab systems, does your system contain APIs to make this work?
- We need to verify courier locations and pick-up/drop-off times, can your system provide this information?
- Currently our IT resources are strained, how much involvement is needed to start and support your system?
- Your system offers X but our operations needs Y, can this be provided and if so, is there a charge to do so?
Again, these are generalized examples, but as you better understand your labs courier services your questions will be more tailored and geared to making sure the system is flexible enough to fit into your workflow. As you ask these questions you will get a good sense about the vendors experience with lab outreach services and if you will be forced to use a system in a way that would cause headaches for your staff or flat out not provide solutions to your core needs. Whatever technology you opt for should support and enhance your refined processes.
If your hospital or independent medical laboratory is seeking a software or mobile app solution to manage medical courier services, contact MCE for a customized web demo followed by a quote.
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