What to include in a Healthcare Transport Request for Proposal
Medical couriers are distinguished from other transportation service providers and distributors by features such as speed, security, tracking, specialization and customization of services. Healthcare companies know the reliability of their medical couriers directly impacts the level of care that medical staff can provide. When engaging a third party to provide medical courier services, an ongoing agreement is often the best way to ensure confidence the contractor is well positioned to provide this critical service and manage the complexities of healthcare operations. A well-designed medical courier request for proposal (RFP) will help to vet healthcare transport companies and ensure you are evaluating value, not the lowest price.
The RFP process allows your organization to assess current and future capacity needs. Here are some questions to consider before issuing your Medical Courier RFP.
Does your medical courier contract require STAT delivery as well as routine in-house deliveries?
While courier services are used in many different industries, some rely more critically on couriers for timely, safe, and same-day delivery on a daily basis. Flexibility of service is a must, particularly if your operations require emergency ASAP or STAT specimen pickup/delivery service, such as hospital facilities that provide patient care 24/7. Scheduled pick up times should be set around clinic hours of operation and patient flow to ensure specimen integrity.
Does your courier service have an electronic tracking system?
An electronic tracking system for transport of specimens should be mandatory to ensure specimens or items are tracked at all times during transit. Your medical courier RFP should include specific answers to the question: "What technology does your organization use to communicate, monitor driver performance, and track items in transit?”
The contractor must ensure the security of any confidential or patient-sensitive information within the electronic system, either by encryption or a similar process. Ideally, each package should have its own barcoded label. Many courier companies already have the latest courier technology that includes real-time tracking and electronic signature capabilities. A backup paper process should be implemented if the electronic system is not functioning.
What training has the medical courier service provided its drivers?
Typically, the medical courier company is responsible for providing all required medical courier training and certification of employees or subcontractors, and is responsible for maintaining records and ensuring drivers remain compliant and competent at all times. Training must be conducted by a knowledgeable individual and in compliance with DOT and other healthcare governing agencies (such as CDC, DHH and CAPS), regulations for the handling and transportation of clinical, medical, and/or biohazardous specimens, state and federal regulations.
Medical courier training must include administrative requirements, OSHA compliant record-keeping, medical definitions, H.I.P.A.A., specimen integrity, incident plan, and OSHA Guidelines pertaining to the medical courier. Training must also include Hazmat, bloodborne pathogen handling and medical specimen transport training for any staff member who is handling samples/specimens for the healthcare and medical industry.
What contingency plans does the contractor have for emergencies?
Healthcare facilities often respond to healthcare needs that are unpredictable, seasonal and variable which may necessitate increased specimen volume. These include but are not limited to outbreaks, emerging diseases, environmental spills, epidemics, changes in service delivery, facility closures, new facilities, compliance issues, natural disasters and bioterrorist events. Including these events in your RFP will force contractors seeking your business to map out contingency plans to meet them.
Are all courier service and facility requirements outlined?
Your RFP should clearly state whether the contractor must provide all labor, vehicles, equipment and supervision. Required components of the medical courier contractor can include vehicle dispatch communication equipment, liability, property, and automobile insurance documentation, vehicle transport containers, refrigeration and freezer accommodations, driver carrier bags or carrier containers, spill clean-up kits, and lock boxes.
Is onsite warehouse capability a requirement of the RFP?
If so, the courier company must be able to manage and stabilize various biological specimens at their required temperature state such as room temp, refrigerated and frozen. It is the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that integrity of the samples is maintained throughout transit, and the courier must have a process for documenting temperature of specimens during transport and storage. Your RFP should include the question “What systems have you put into place to ensure the safe shipment and arrival of specimens at the testing laboratory or healthcare facility?”
What other requirements does your operation have?
Some healthcare organizations specify the contracted courier company use only employee drivers, rather than subcontractors. Make sure to outline any such requirements in your RFP as well as any other proof the courier company needs to show, such as Contractor's Insurance, Compensation Insurance, Worker’s Compensation Insurance, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Licensed and Non-Licensed Motor Vehicles Liability Insurance, and Insurance Covering Special Hazards.
Does the courier service have a Chain-of-Custody Procedure?
Certain laboratories’ environmental specimens have a Chain-of-Custody procedure throughout the process of pickup, transportation, and delivery. The location of specimens must be tracked and documented throughout the entire process, including the name of the employee(s) handling the specimen or samples.
A daily courier manifest should include the pick-up site; site employee’s name or initials; number of packages and/or envelopes, including number of specimens and specimen type contained in each package; and the temperature required for each package.
What metrics does the contractor monitor to maintain service levels?
Ensuring that every specimen arrives safely and quickly to a laboratory or healthcare facility should be the highest priority. Identify what reporting tools the courier will provide to demonstrate service levels.
The contractor should establish a Quality Control Plan (QCP) to assure your organization maintains a consistently high level of performance throughout the term of the contract. The medical courier provider should submit a monthly report that measures: driver performance, operational performance, customer service and service trends. The Mayo Medical Laboratories offers these tips on How to Write a Request for Proposal.
What is the QCS Advantage?
The transportation of critical medical items is a vital component of the total healthcare delivery system as it directly impacts the level of care that patients, partners and medical staff require on a consistent basis. The healthcare industry is dependent on courier companies to move fragile, confidential medical specimens, samples, blood products, instruments, supplies and pharmaceuticals according to their timetables and specifications.
QCS Logistics has provided dependable medical courier services in the Greater New Orleans region for more than 30 years. QCS’ medical courier services include emergency and routine routed delivery 24/7, diagnostic and infectious specimen delivery, tissue transplant transport, and pharmaceutical, medical record and x-ray film delivery. We also provide daily scheduled delivery of medical lab specimens and samples, including packaging and shipping specimens overnight from Louis Armstrong International Airport to out-of-town labs.
One of Southeastern Louisiana’s premier providers of medical delivery services, QCS offers an integrated transportation solution that helps medical facilities consolidate and streamline service requests, provide transparency and accountability, and continuously improve their operations through on-going review and evaluation of performance metrics.