The Case of the Missing Mole

When Costly Lost or Missing Laboratory Test Samples Instigate
Courier Management Redesign




Author: Liz Carey

Advisor: Linda S. Flynn, MS, MBA, MT(ASCPSBB)

Mishandling lab samples can be costly.

From the emergency department (ED) to physician offices and multiple clinics in the community and region, patient specimens can travel great distances before reaching the lab. However, labs and hospitals struggle to handle their in-house courier operations efficiently, effectively, and safely. 

Incidents of lost or missing laboratory test samples carry heavy consequences. Yet, many laboratories find that accountability, reconciliation, and tracking persist as issues.

This white paper will be useful for laboratory directors, lab managers, courier managers, logistics managers, and outreach managers—whether in hospital-based laboratories or independent medical laboratories working as outreach labs—who employ and manage couriers in-house.


Table of Contents

Part 1: Performance Indicators for Monitoring In-House or Outsourced Courier Operations

Incidents of lost or missing laboratory test samples carry heavy consequences. Yet, many laboratories find that accountability persists as an issue. Explore three tipping points related to specimen management issues and learn from the experience of a nonprofit health system that redesigned its courier operations.


Part 2: Mapping a Medical Courier Redesign Initiative 

While sensitive and irreplaceable specimens are at risk particularly, all sample transportation must be monitored for quality and accountability. Discover 10 areas to analyze, a reference chart with actionable medical courier improvement measures, and discussion points for courier quality management teams.


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