A courier service can be used for most every delivery you have. In Los Angeles for example, courier services are an integral part of medical lab deliveries. No matter the traffic in L.A., courier services are counted on to deliver medical specimens, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
When you choose a courier service in Los Angeles for this type of work, there’s considerations to be careful about. Primarily, are you using a service that employs drivers, or one that uses independent contractors? The difference might just be night and day.
The best choice is to go with a courier service that only uses employee drivers. This might cost a few cents more, but imagine having to ask your patients to come back in for a re-draw. Companies that use employee drivers have much greater control over the job of getting the specimens picked up and delivered properly.
If you are using a messenger service that sub-contracts, then everyone is at the mercy of whether or not the IC wants to even work that day. Or maybe he has a friend do the route — which does happen. There have been many terrible stories about messengers not doing the job correctly and often it’s because the courier service didn’t have the control they should have when deciding to contract the work with an independent contractor.
One very important issue with medical specimen deliveries using a courier service is chain of custody. What this means is that when a courier picks up the specimen they need to sign a manifest showing they’ve received it. This paperwork can be provided by the lab, or the courier service, depending on a customer’s preference. Some lab companies like Labcorp provide this, some don’t. But we have to aspire to be the best at all times.
In the even there are many specimens that the messenger service picks up, then the chain of custody might take longer, but it’s critical to keep all parties satisfied and be compliant with HIPAA standards.
Chain of custody won’t help if a specimen goes missing. It likely will not result in the specimen being found, but it’s critical to chase down the cause to guard against this never happening again. Proudly, A-1 Courier has never had any specimens go missing. The difficulty, of course, is that if a specimen is lost, and it’s a bio-hazardous material such as blood, there’s a huge safety issue, and then there’s the problem of having to get a replacement specimen from the patient.
Noting can infuriate a customer and patient more than having to re-draw blood or gather urine for example.
Another issue in delivering medical specimens via a courier service in Los Angeles, or anywhere else for that matter, is that, on occasion the lab is closed and the courier service is stuck with a hazardous waste. In this case, it’s critical for a messenger service to have the proper manner in which to dispose of the specimen.
So, on balance, delivering specimens for a medical establishment or a medical lab is one where massive responsibility is being taken on. It’s not to be taken lightly, and at A-1 Courier for example, we dedicate an entire department to make sure we handle all our pick ups and deliveries with all our i’s dotted and all our t’s crossed. It’s the only way to help guarantee success.