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International Forwarding Association Blog » Specialized transportation » The Role of Logistics in the Healthcare Sector
Logistics in the Healthcare Sector

The Role of Logistics in the Healthcare Sector

While healthcare has treatment and prevention as its main focus, hospitals, clinics, and other facilities need medications, syringes, gauzes, and other supplies to treat patients. Hospitals also need files, paper, computers, and other items for administrative purposes and keeping record of patients and treatment outcomes.

How Hospitals Secure Supplies

The two main ways in which hospitals secure supplies are by working with distributors and by buying directly from manufacturers. Purchasing supplies from distributors has many benefits, the main one being that they are able to ship multiple supplies. To this, logistics services providers cater to both large and small shipments and offer medical courier services, flight and land logistics solutions, and more.

photo: https://www.stanleyhealthcare.com

Services Offered

Some logistics companies offer medical courier services for organ transplants, medical records, biological and medical specimens, and pharmaceuticals. Couriers receive extensive training in the safety procedures adopted by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, including dealing with biohazard emergencies and spills. Storing, delivering, and shipping of medical supplies are challenging tasks for hospitals and other healthcare settings. To this, logistics companies use specialized transportation to safely ship supplies and avoid contamination, spills, and damage. Healthcare logistics providers also have experience with shipping critical documents between training locations, laboratories, hospitals, and medical offices. They also offer shipping services for medical equipment such as laser imaging, MRIs, X-rays, and CT scanners.

Handling biological and biohazard specimens also requires special climate-controlled equipment and safety procedures to avoid and handle spills. Healthcare logistics providers often transport biohazard specimens such as red blood cells, serum, plasma, and blood. They also ship sputum, urine, and swab and collections such as stones, coagulation studies, chain of study, and nails and hair. Temperature-controlled equipment is used for infectious specimens, diagnostic tests, and tissue and organ specimens.

Such specimens are only transported by certified drivers. Drivers also have extensive experience and training in safe handling of controlled substances and pharmaceuticals, biohazard control and safety procedures, and procedures to keep specimen integrity. Finally, logistics providers also transport stem cells to transplantation centres and international registries. They have extensive experience in handling crisis situations such as strikes, severe weather, and delays, offering one-stop solutions in terms of coordination and planning. From documentation handling, temperature control, packaging, and shipping, logistics companies handle all steps throughout the process. They often work with former flight attendants and pilots who have the necessary experience to transport sensitive supplies.

Timing of Services

Healthcare logistics providers also feature route, messenger, hot shot, and same day services. Messenger services, for example, include returning completed documents, paying filling fees, securing signatures, and more. Hot shot services are also offered to healthcare providers that require special delivery by a dedicated truck and driver. Route services are designed for customers that ship medical supplies on a regular basis, including laboratory and medical specimens, mail, medical records, and documents. They are offered scheduled monthly, weekly, and daily pickup, shipment, and delivery, based on timing requirements.