Medical Couriers: Everything You Need to Know

MEDICAL COURIERS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

In order to keep pace with the continuously changing needs of a healthcare facility, it’s important to create reliable support systems. Quick, dependable access to necessary information, supplies, and equipment is essential to providing exceptional health care to your patients.

Medical couriers help healthcare facilities provide top-quality patient care by taking on essential logistics responsibilities. Furthermore, medical couriers are trained to safely handle specialized biological materials, while adhering to the required professional protocols and guidelines. They are a trusted source of support for front-line caregivers, allowing them to stay focused on what matters: providing immediate and personalized patient care.

Healthcare institutions realize great benefits by outsourcing their medical courier services, including improved efficiency, reduction of logistics costs, and increased quality control and quality assurance. When medical professionals are given the information and tools needed for successful patient care, it leads to a higher rate of positive outcomes.

What is a medical courier?

Medical couriers are key players in the healthcare industry. They provide the essential and highly regulated pick-up and delivery services required by health care professionals and health care facilities. Medical couriers transport goods such as documents, biological specimens, pharmaceutical supplies, and medical equipment between clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies. Their service ensures that logistics don’t distract from patient care.

Urgent Response

Urgent transportation of supplies, equipment, or biological specimens can make a big difference in patient care outcomes. When the patient’s health hangs in the balance, medical couriers provide support for the patient’s care team and ensure the immediate delivery of life-saving materials.

Biological Materials

Biohazardous materials require specialized handling and storage to ensure viability. Medical couriers are certified in OSHA regulations and protocols, which means that they are able to handle and transport biological materials. Outsourced logistics providers train their medical couriers as required by all state, federal, and international agencies.

Licensed and Certified

The movement of pharmaceutical supplies often requires couriers to be licensed by the state. Logistics providers with trained, licensed medical couriers can easily assist pharmacies and medical foundations to safeguard the efficacy, inventory, and accuracy of the packages they are shipping.

Medical couriers support health care facilities by providing logistics services and unwavering quality assurance practices. Medical facilities who outsource their medical courier needs to 3PL or 4PL logistics experts understand how those relationships improve facility efficiency, and ultimately improve patient care results.

Why are medical couriers important in the health care industry?

Medical couriers are critical to the patient care process. Health care industry management teams rely on medical couriers to improve efficiency, function, and decrease operational expenditures.  Keeping a leading medical care space running at capacity requires expert knowledge within every aspect of its organization. Operational logistics is no exception!

Medical couriers help health care providers operate at peak efficiency, and their services allow physicians and nurses to focus on patient care. The support provided by medical couriers also helps hospitals, laboratories, care facilities, and medical offices run smoothly.

Efficient and timely transport of essential information, samples, and equipment gives front-line care professionals the tools they need to assess and deliver their patient’s needs. Patient care support, logistic maintenance, and emergency response are part of medical courier’s duties.

Patient Care Support

Providing effective medical care to patients requires support from various fields and disciplines. While logistics may seem simple, medical couriers support patients by delivering time critical, temperature-controlled shipments that require utmost care and the use of cutting-edge technology to ensure top-notch service. For that reason, medical courier jobs are a valued and important piece of that process.

Emergency Response

Medical couriers are an important piece of the dynamic, and often unpredictable field of emergency response care. They support medical professionals, health care facilities, clinics, and hospitals. When transportation is time-sensitive, medical couriers are instrumental in fulfilling those needs. Care providers also benefit from the peace of mind that comes from knowing their couriers will respond quickly when patient care needs abruptly change.

Logistic Support

While delivering life-saving equipment, medicines, or even organs, is a part of a medical courier’s responsibility, so too is the handling of regular pick-ups and deliveries. Although these tasks may require a bit less adrenaline, the outcomes are equally as important. Routine pick-up and delivery services provided by medical couriers are key to the support of a medical facility’s logistics operations.

Handling Sensitive/Restricted Goods

Medical items are often sensitive in nature and transporting them requires specialized handling practices. Medical couriers are educated in these essential handling practices; and they are able to safely manage the movement and delivery of sensitive material, documents, and supplies. This knowledge is important to ensure a high level of quality patient care.

What services do medical couriers provide?

Medical couriers provide transportation of goods for the medical and health-care industry. Documents, supplies, and equipment that require special handling considerations can only be moved by couriers with the appropriate training, licensure, and certifications.

Here are some examples of the various duties of a medical courier:

Pick-Up

  • Take an accurate inventory of items to be transported.
  • Maintain accurate chain-of-custody documentation.
  • Ensure HIPAA regulations are met and upheld.
  • Accept medical items and follow provided instructions for their proper handling.
  • Adhere to schedule determined by the client.
  • Ensure documentation accompanying item is accurate and credible.

Transportation

  • Transport goods within required time allowance.
  • Secure items in vehicle to preserve condition of item during transport.
  • Store transport items at required temperature, humidity, or other physical conditions.
  • Maintain the safety and condition of items during transport.
  • Operate transport vehicle safely, following local laws and regulations.

Delivery

  • Punctual delivery of medical items.
  • Release goods only to correct personnel/acceptor.
  • Proper chain-of-custody handling at end-point.
  • Relay instructions to end-point from pick-up facility if required.
  • Check documentation for accuracy and credibility prior to the release of goods.
  • Uphold HIPAA regulations.

What exactly do medical couriers transport?

Medical couriers are responsible for sensitive information, hazardous waste, equipment, and biological samples. Each requires unique knowledge of defined handling and storage protocols intended to keep information private and samples viable. Transportation is usually from one medical facility to another; so many positions involve routine pick-ups and deliveries.

Medical Equipment

Medical equipment transportation is important for health care professionals in providing quality care to their clients. Instruments, detectors, and specialized tools are very expensive; therefore it’s not uncommon for facilities to loan equipment to off-site medical providers. Medical equipment movement can include:

  • X-Ray machines
  • MRI
  • CT Scanners
  • Surgical instruments and equipment

Biological Materials

Collection of biological materials, including blood and blood products or patient samples, and their subsequent delivery to hospitals and medical laboratories is a primary function for most medical couriers. Medical couriers routinely handle the following:

  • Blood samples
  • Urine, fecal, or other routine biological samples
  • Blood plasma
  • Organs

Sensitive Documents

Delivering documents that include private patient information is one of the most important tasks that medical couriers perform. The individuals trusted with these documents must display total understanding and respect for privacy laws and regulations. Medical couriers have received training in HIPAA protocols and act in accordance with them. Information routinely transported by medical couriers includes:

  • Patient medical Charts
  • Medical Documents
  • Sensitive client information

Medications and Pharmaceutical Supplies

When transporting pharmaceutical supplies, medical couriers follow required procedures for the proper handling and storage of the drugs they are shipping. Accurate storage and climate controls must be maintained during shipping to preserve the efficacy of the products. Medical couriers routinely ship:

  • Pharmaceutical supplies
  • Controlled substances
  • Accompanying documents
  • Urgent delivery items

What are the demands and workplace conditions of medical couriers?

Medical couriers are employed by hospitals, care facilities, logistics providers, delivery companies, laboratories – almost every business that’s designed to support front-line health care professionals.

What is the job market like for medical couriers?

Like all health care related professions, medical couriers are employed in areas where patient care and support are provided. Employers in dense urban populations, like the City of Los Angeles, use medical couriers when providing services to hospitals, medical offices, laboratories, and other care facilities.

As populations rise, so does the need for health care services. This increases the demand for medical couriers as they are a key component for the smooth delivery of health care services to patients.

The Hours

Work available for qualified medical couriers ranges from on-call positions to full-time, long-term employment. Typically, a medical courier’s expected availability is in-line with the medical facilities the job supports. This includes everything from the traditional, 9-to-5 business hours, to late-night shifts and weekends.

The Landscape

Medical couriers spend a great deal of their day traveling between multiple locations. They are adept at using modern technology, -smartphones, location software (GPS), for executing excellent parcel management. They routinely interact with clients and are dependent on maintaining good relationships with clients.

Physical Demands

Medical courier jobs can be physically demanding. Often, being a medical courier requires regular lifting of heavy packages, equipment, and other goods. They should be physically fit and able to lift over 20 pounds routinely.

What do employers look for when hiring a medical courier?

A medical courier job description typically requires applicants to provide a clean driver abstract, demonstrate excellent client relation skills, able to work different hours and handle the physical demands of the job. Job posting requirements for a medical courier could include:

Qualifications

  • Valid driver’s license and clean driving record
  • High school diploma or equivalent (GED)
  • Knowledge of medical terminology
  • Physically fit, can lift over 20 pounds
  • Pass pre-screening testing: drug screen, background check.
  • Reliable customer service and interpersonal skills
  • Punctual and strong time management skills

Expected Duties

  • Handle all goods following company and state protocols
  • Safely load and unload goods at pick-up and delivery locations
  • Keep thorough and accurate record documentation
  • Consistently provide on-time collections and deliveries
  • Exhibit respectful behavior towards clients
  • Be prepared to drive for long periods each day
  • Easily adjust to changing situations

Preferred Aptitudes:

  • Exceptional organizational skills
  • Keen attention to details
  • Adheres strictly to required regulations and protocols
  • Considerate of sensitive patient information and circumstances

 

Great medical courier providers train their team members, helping them obtain the right certifications needed for the handling and transportation of sensitive items. Only personnel trained and certified in the correct standards, HIPAA, OSHA, and PHARMA, should be trusted to transport medical facility packages. Relying on knowledgeable, certified, and respected health care logistics providers can streamline a facilities operations and ultimately, improve their bottom line.

HIPAA Certification

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a federal act on the privacy of personal health and medical information. Employees, including medical couriers, who are in contact with patient data, regardless of its scope or detail, should complete a basic HIPAA certification course.

HIPAA courses can be found, and many employers provide HIPAA certification training at no cost to their employees. For medical couriers, their regular interaction with patient information requires them to attain certification as a Certified HIPAA Privacy Associate (CHPA®).

Responsible Transportation and Delivery Practices

Medical couriers must operate the vehicles used for transporting goods responsibly. This includes obeying traffic laws and parking allowances when providing transportation services. Before starting a medical courier position, employers require proof of good driving behaviors. Submitting a driver’s abstract to an employer is commonly a condition of employment.

Timing and Availability

Health care employees work highly variable hours; after all, providing quality patient care doesn’t stop at five o’clock. Positions that support front-line caregivers, like medical couriers, must accommodate the different hours of the medical industry. Most medical couriers need to be available for various shifts, every day of the week, depending on the requirements of their employer.