Handling Delicate Medical Courier Jobs
Not just any courier company can take on medical couriers jobs; these are delicate tasks that can only be handled by people who have undergone some special training, not to mention special equipment. However, serving the medical industry can mean lucrative fees and regular business,
which is why it is worth the effort.
Highly Trained Delivery Drivers
There are stringent requirements regarding the delivery drivers or personnel that have the responsibility of handling medical courier jobs. This is so because there are certain delicate aspects of handling medical items. For instance, medical records are absolutely confidential; untrained drivers may not be aware of these rules and end up ‘blabbing’ about their famous celebrity who received a medical package at this or that hospital. Moreover, medical specimens are usually fragile and they require careful handling. That’s why delivery personnel must have undergone some special training that enables them to know how exactly to handle particular items – from medicine to frozen human organs to highly contagious pathogens. Depending on the country or state, there is a compulsory annual training course for courier drivers specialising in medical-related deliveries.
Medical courier jobs cannot be handled using regular delivery vans. Depending on the nature of the delivery, the vehicle must be outfitted with certain equipment or appliances. For instance, if you’re making a time-sensitive delivery of blood-borne pathogens, a specific container must be used in transporting such a delicate cargo. The container is designed to avoid contamination, protect the item from damage or compromise to its stability, and also to maintain the correctly prescribed temperature. The delivery vehicle should also be equipped with what is called a ‘spill kit’-a set of tools and materials used in the quick management of an accidental spillage, which may include rubber gloves and plastic bags. Drivers assigned to this task, however, are more concerned about avoiding a spill as much as possible than about cleaning it afterwards.
Knowledge of Medical Procedures
If normal courier jobs require on-time delivery, then serving the medical sector is notches higher in terms of strictness in procedure. This arises from the nature of most medical situations. For example, there are cases where a delivery will require the driver to call the clinic exactly ten minutes before arriving; if that sounds easy on paper, imagine fulfilling that while you’re on the road negotiating traffic. Arrive too early and you compromise the stability of the specimen; arrive a little late and you might end up exceeding the window of the specimen’s viability. Until the driver calls, the medical staff will wait before processing the specimen or drawing
the blood sample. Likewise, the amount of time from pick-up to delivery to the laboratory is critical. These stringent requirements are what couriers working in the medical field face every day, and only after you have made the requisite preparation can you qualify to take on the delivery tasks.
Time and temperature are of the utmost importance when transporting medical substances, as are the use of proper receptacles and handling specifications. Blood specimens for potassium and cortisol, for example, need to be tested within two hours from the time they are collected. Otherwise, they have to be stored in special separator tubes to avoid flawed test results. Often, blood specimens need to be transported in an upright position to promote complete clot formation. Also, all specimens, regardless of their contents, are required to be sealed in a leak-proof container and kept at the correct temperature to safeguard the condition of the sample. Specimens that are transported in temperatures that are either too cold or too hot can alter a laboratory’s test results, leading to misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment of the patient.
For a medical courier service, that means additional training in the way confidential medical materials must be secured and documented during the transit process.
Above all else, medical couriers must be trained with an emphasis on safety and responsibility. As the conduit between medical centers, laboratories, clinics, doctor offices, pharmacies, and the rest of the nation’s healthcare network, they play an enormous role in upholding the validity of medical materials. In addition to following protocol throughout the entire distribution process, they must also be prepared to file affidavits and document the chain of custody whenever necessary.
With so much to learn about transporting medically sensitive materials, it all comes down to training for today’s professional medical courier. Considering the constraints of time, temperature, and red tape, it’s a whole new level of “handle with care.”