For many providers, healthcare transportation is thought of as a tactical function. The goal seems simple: move items, whatever they may be, from one facility to another.
Unfortunately, this mindset has led many providers to leave logistics up to individual departments often resulting in an inefficient multitude of vendors who don't always have significant healthcare experience. The result can be costly delays or errors that lead to potential patient harm.
A single delivery delay, a mishandled specimen or a missed delivery may not seem especially significant and for some providers it might even seem routine. The truth is, however, that these missteps can be quite costly in terms of actual dollars, impact to the patient experience and market reputation.
These types of errors are estimated to cost providers an average of $600-700 per error (or more). With an industry average of 500 to 1000 errors per million stops, errors can cost providers hundreds of thousands of dollars. (Shameless plug: MedSpeed's error rate is only 38 errors per million stops).
When executives hone in on the true costs of logistical errors, they begin to notice the short-term costs of cancelled procedures or admissions bottlenecks as well as the more lasting impact on patient and clinician trust and loyalty. A mishandled lab sample can result in additional costs to recollect and, in serious cases, it may not be possible to take another biopsy. All of these problems have an impact on providers' efforts to achieve the Quadruple Aim: better outcomes, lower costs, improved patient experience and higher clinician satisfaction.
Increasingly, providers are re-thinking healthcare transportation. Instead of the traditional courier model, they are looking at it through a holistic lens - the more strategic lens of intra-company logistics. By moving to a single solution across facilities, efficiencies can be identified, unnecessary costs reduced and performance standardized.
Leaders should scrutinize their logistics relationships, considering technology, analytics capabilities and, perhaps most importantly, people. When drivers are employees rather than independent contractors, they're more likely to receive extensive, ongoing training and are more incentivized to consider the long-term success of their clients.
Providers don't take clinical quality for granted and they should have the same mindset when it comes to intra-company logistics. The two are more closely related than it may seem.