Medical couriers are an essential part of the healthcare system. Much like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, they aid in the treatment of patients, though their work is often done behind the scenes.
Everyone you know has likely benefited from the work of a medical courier at some point in their lives. But what exactly do they do? Keep reading as we take a look at the day in the life of a medical courier.
There are Different Types of Medical Couriers
While all medical couriers are tasked with transporting critical records or supplies, there are actually a few different types of couriers in the medical field.
General medical couriers are the most common. They may transport a variety of items locally, including medical supplies, documents, or lab specimens. There are more than 14,000 local messengers and local delivery couriers employed today.
Medical and diagnostic labs may also hire their own couriers. In this case, the courier would only pick up and deliver lab specimens for testing.
Other types of medical couriers include legal services, general medicine, surgical hospitals, and express delivery services.
They Work at All Hours
Medical emergencies don’t wait until business hours. Often, medical documents, supplies, and lab specimens have to be transported long distances and need to arrive as quickly as possible. For that reason, a medical courier may start their pick-up and delivery route late at night, early morning, in the afternoon, or any time of day.
A medical courier will often pick up and deliver to many different facilities. So their day could start with picking up medical supplies from a hospital or a lab test from a clinic. They might drive around town, picking up several items before beginning their delivery route. Or, they might have to quickly pick up and deliver critical supplies right away.
Making a Pick-Up
When a medical courier arrives at a hospital or other medical facility, there likely isn’t someone waiting there to load their vehicle. Instead, the courier will often enter the facility and interact with medical professionals like nurses, lab techs, and doctors. They might discuss the specifics of the delivery and where it needs to go.
Because medical couriers often deal directly with sensitive medical information about patients, they may be required to complete HIPAA training prior to starting as a courier.
After discussing the specifics of the items that they are picking up, the medical courier will likely sign some forms. These will document where the items are and where they are headed. Back at their transport vehicle, the medical courier will also be responsible for properly storing the items that they are transporting.
Some items may need to be kept at a specific temperature or placed in a special container for transport.
Sticking to a Schedule
Many of the items that medical couriers deliver are critical in nature. This means that fast, safe delivery of these items is essential.
A doctor may be waiting for results from a lab test before they can diagnose a patient. A hospital may be waiting for the delivery of a piece of specialized equipment before they can begin surgery.
While GPS technology helps, it’s up to the medical courier to make sure that they are arriving at their destination quickly but safely.
Making a Delivery
Once they arrive at a medical facility, the medical courier will then need to deliver the items that they have transported. This may mean navigating through large medical facilities like hospitals to quickly deliver the supplies or specimens directly where they need to go. They’ll likely also log their delivery and sign delivery receipts.
Then, they’ll start the process all over again with a new pick-up and delivery. Or, they may complete several pick-ups and deliveries in one run.
A Constant Line of Work
With regular courier and delivery services, work may ebb and flow with the seasons. For instance, deliveries often increase around the holidays as business stock up on goods. However, after the holidays are over, the start of the year may bring some downtime with fewer deliveries.
This isn’t the case in the medical field.
Injuries and illnesses don’t follow a seasonal schedule. Medical supplies, documents, and tests are in constant demand year-round, which means that medical couriers are in high demand year-round too, with a constant flow of work orders.
Every year, more than 7 billion clinical lab tests are performed across the U.S. Many of these tests require specimens to be transported from hospitals and clinics to specialized off-site lab facilities where the tests are run. Medical couriers are responsible for transporting these specimens, in addition to regular medical supplies, critical documents, and more.
What Sets Medical Courier Service Apart From Regular Courier Service?
Courier services are used across most industries to deliver everything from important documents to products to supplies. But regular courier services can’t be used in place of medical courier services.
Medical couriers are trained to handle specialized medical supplies and equipment. They follow specific protocols for updating medical records about the transport of specimens, test results, and more.
Even the vehicle that they drive might be specifically designed to protect the items that they are transporting. It may require special knowledge and training to access and properly store lab specimens or other items.
Become a Medical Courier
Being a medical courier can be a rewarding and challenging job. While you’re up against tight deadlines and high demand, you’re also serving an essential role in the process of treating patients. Behind the scenes of the medical industry, couriers are vital to keeping things moving forward and allowing doctors, nurses, and other specialists to do their jobs.
If you’re thinking about becoming a medical courier, apply for a job working with 24/7 Express Logistics!