Labs Look for Solutions to Solve Delays in Delivering Specimen Results

Labs Look for Solutions to Solve Delays in Delivering Specimen Results

Once specimens have been gathered for virus testing, the pressure is on for labs to quickly and accurately process tests. Labs are being pushed to their brink in operational compacity and efficiency. In recent weeks, the growth in testing has outpaced lab throughput capacity and created severe backlogs for most labs. 1

The bulk of the lab testing capacity in the United States is made up of commercial lab companies such as ARUP, BioReference Laboratories, LabCorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics, and Sonic Healthcare. These labs specialize in the administering the logistics of moving hundreds/thousands of tests in and out of their facilities on a daily basis. There are three main reasons why delays exist in commercial testing. They include: 2  3


  • Shortage of supplies. When the labs conduct testing, they have experienced shortages in nose or throat swabs for testing locations, testing kits, and protective PPE. Labs have been stymied by not being able to have enough supply of the reagents to process the tests. Laboratories simply do not have predictable access to supplies that are necessary for the continued expansion of testing.
  • Lack of funding. Labs lack clarity on who will be paying for the testing resources.
  • Prioritization of testing samples. As labs deal with the ballooning demand of tests, they depend on clinics and hospitals to help them define which patient tests are a priority based on CDC guidelines. It is simply not a matter of processing tests in the order they were received.


Unlike the commercial labs, in-house testing (e.g., hospitals, clinics) have several advantages. For example,


  • Specimens don’t have to be packaged and sent between facilities.
  • There is one system for processing, prioritizing, and tracking the tests which improves efficiency.
  • They have flexibility in testing workflows.
  • They are well positioned to perform quick-tests for the highest-priority people that include health-care workers and gravely-ill patients.


The downside is that these labs account for only a fraction of the tests that commercial labs can handle.  Large manufacturing companies of testing equipment have begun providing resources for regional hospitals to begin to process more virus tests which is expected to provide some relief in helping to bring down testing wait times.3

Increase in mass testing is going to become the backbone of the go-forward plan of the countries, states, and local governments in managing and staying on top of the pandemic, being able to identify hot spots of infection, and allowing people to confirm that they don’t have symptoms and are free of the virus.

It’s essential for lab administrators to have full visibility and tracking capabilities to document specimens throughout the courier process, from pickup, to delivery, and everywhere in between, to deliver accurate and fast results. Equipped with the right mobility and third-party software solution, labs can process tests and deliver results quickly and efficiently, avoiding missed specimens and empowering clinicians to provide critical care.  4  5

How Honeywell is Helping Lab Specimen Collection and Delivery

Honeywell provides a solution of hardware and software for specimen collection and courier service which offers healthcare organizations and frontline workers a safe, secure, and more efficient way to manage the growing demand for lab testing and results.  The solution is simple to integrate with your lab facility’s existing infrastructure and can be implemented immediately to meet today’s needs and challenges. The solution includes:


  • Honeywell CT40 and CT60 Mobile Computers are designed for mobile workers that require real-time connectivity to business-critical applications. The CT40/CT60 are compact and can easily scan and capture data from barcodes on specimen bags or requisitions and use LTE cellular data to transmit the data in real time. Built on the Mobility Edge™ platform, the CT40/CT60 mobile computers provide guaranteed compatibility through Android R and OS support through 2028. With a secure mobile device, specimen and site visit information is transmitted safely and securely from the hospital to the lab.
  • Medical Courier Elite (MCE)* is a custom third-party specimen tracking and courier software application that offers a comprehensive cloud-based solution designed specifically for medical lab specimen tracking and courier route management utilizing barcodes and GPS. MCE optimizes the specimen collection process to ensure the traceability of specimens from pickup to lab delivery and performs courier management and routing. MCE can help protect healthcare organizations from lost or misplaced specimens for testing and improve courier accountability and productivity.
  • Making Invocation Work within Your Budget. Honeywell-as-a-Service is an offering that helps you navigate technology challenges. It provides you with an innovative approach to acquire software, hardware, and services and pay for them through a monthly payment with no upfront capital outlay.


Contact a Honeywell Solutions Expert today! Call 1-800-934-3163.

1 Private Labs Are Fueling a New Coronavirus Testing Crisis
2 Labs face challenges creating diagnosis testing for COVID-19
3 Why some covid-19 tests in the US take more than a week
4 National coronavirus response: A road map to reopening
5 Why We Must Test Millions a Day

Barry J. Ewell

Barry J. Ewell is a Senior Content Marketing Communications Specialist for Honeywell Industrial Automation. He has been researching and writing on supply chain topics since 1991.