A division of QE Facilities Ltd, a well-established subsidiary company of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, QE Transport Services provides a cost-effective, secure, bespoke and professional time-critical transport solution for medical samples and specimens from various medical facilities to laboratories for testing. With a company ethos of continually surpassing client expectations, QE Transport Services is dedicated to providing high-class customer service whilst adhering to UKAS Standards.
As part of a drive to further enhance the company’s customer service offering and to ensure compliance with ever-evolving legislative standards, the company needed to improve upon its specimen tracking and tracing methodology. Dakota subsequently developed a bespoke Electronic Proof of Delivery (ePod) solution for QE Transport Services, underpinned by its eTrakLogic software, which was specifically aligned to NHS customer requirements.
QE Transport Services was previously using an alternative ePod solution, however it did not meet their specific needs.
Paul Bowmaker, Head of Transport at QE Transport Services, explains: “The ePod solution which we formerly had in place didn’t meet the requirements for sample tracking and security so we needed to look for a suitable alternative which would meet our needs and which would enable us to adhere to the required UKAS standards.”
Based in Carrington in the North West of England, Dakota is a real-time data capture, printing, mobility and support solution specialist with a rich history in supplying over one hundred and seventy NHS Trusts with fit-for-purpose technology solutions due to their expertise and close working relationships with Health Systems Support Framework Suppliers and the NHS Supply Chain.
Providing full integration expertise and a knowledgeable, consultative sales approach across a diverse range of applications within a number of industries in addition to healthcare, including transportation, logistics and manufacturing, Dakota offers a value-added service to its existing and prospective customers, providing recommendations in selecting the right devices and technology for its clients’ specific and diverse requirements.
Bowmaker continues, “As I already knew about Dakota from my previous working role, I initially approached them directly with a view to creating a new, bespoke ePod solution as none of the off-the-shelf offerings which we looked into were suitable for our relatively complex requirements. I also approached a number of alternative companies during my search in an effort to secure a working partnership with a company which would help us achieve our goal, however the team at Dakota were happy to work with us in order to develop a bespoke solution which gave us everything we needed and more. Out of all the companies we looked at, Dakota came out on top in terms of what they could provide us with, which is a fully-functional and reliable solution upon which we can rely.”
QE Transport Services’ new solution is currently being used for the transport and tracking of medical samples from over 2,000 healthcare facilities across the North East and Yorkshire. It is even deployed in University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire where QE Transport Services has taken over the responsibility of specimen transport. Collection sites range from pharmacies, GP practices and hospital sites, from where specimens are then taken to laboratories for testing. When the sample bags are collected from the various locations, they are scanned using Zebra TC56 touchscreen mobile computers, which are loaded with Dakota’s eTrakLogic ePod software solution.
The solution enables QE Transport Services to have full visibility of the whereabouts of the samples and allows them to prove that the samples have been safely collected and delivered, thus adhering to the required UKAS standards for the movement of medical specimens, avoiding fines and sanctions for any loss of samples. In addition to this, the solution also tracks the time elapsed from sample collection to the point of delivery to ensure that the samples are viable for testing on arrival and that the critical expiry time window is not missed.
Jonathan Daly, Account Manager for Healthcare Solutions at Dakota explains, “Upon listening to QE Transport Services’ unique requirements, we set about designing the solution from the ground up with input from the customer. This was a valuable experience and allowed us to understand what was important to Paul and his team and what we could do to help improve their situation. It was also important that not only did we achieve the goal of developing the software to a high standard but we also had to ensure that we would not let them down when it came to the choice of hardware. We needed to ensure that whatever device we gave to the drivers was robust enough to take a tumble as well as providing the same functionality as a smartphone. After testing numerous devices, the Zebra TC56 came out on top due to its enterprise functionality, making it easy to deploy and manage moving forward.”
“The beauty of the new solution which we developed specifically for QE Transport Services is that it gives them full visibility of the location of samples under their care, allowing them to fully comply with UKAS compliance standards. Their reputation with the NHS is of utmost importance and the solution, supported by our fully hosted and customisable eTrakLogic software, helps them to actively avoid any security breaches as well as the financial impact of any such occurrence. The new solution incorporates a comprehensive real-time dashboard facility, allowing them to keep track of what has been collected and the status of every delivery at each individual location. This enables them to plan accordingly and provide rapid status updates as and when required, helping to improve the service which they offer to their customers.”
QE Transport Services has experienced a number of business benefits as a result of the new solution, predominantly improved customer service levels and heightened levels of patient care.
Bowmaker explains, “The business benefits of our new Dakota solution have been far-reaching. Not only do we continue to be fully compliant with UKAS standards, our reputation with the NHS will also always remain positive because of this adherence. In terms of patient care, we remove the requirement for a patient to have to undergo additional testing due to a lost or misplaced sample. Not only does the solution work perfectly for us today, it also has the ability to evolve as our business changes in the future as our solution requirements and the standards to which we need to comply develop over time.”
“Overall, we have realised a great many benefits as a result of working with Dakota. From the offset they were extremely helpful and willing to work with us in order to create a bespoke ePod solution which addressed all the criteria we were looking for. We are currently looking to increase the number of pharmaceutical companies which we work with within other NHS Trusts and are also looking to roll out the eTrakLogic solution to encompass patient transport. This is a service which we already offer, however we are looking to improve our current offering through the deployment of the eTrakLogic solution. Since our experience and ongoing relationship with Dakota is so positive, we plan to involve them fully within this next exciting stage of deployment. We have built up a fantastic working partnership with Dakota over the years thanks to their friendly yet highly professional service. They are always willing to move with our demands and requirements, sometimes at very short notice, and have been an excellent solution partner right from the start. We very much look forward to the continuation of our partnership in the future.”