HOW THE labsmartbox WAS BORN

I'm a problem solver.  And in my role as a supply chain executive in the anatomic pathology laboratory industry, I noticed a big problem hiding in plain sight.

Actually, it was happening at our specimen collection boxes every day:

Couriers making stops to pick up specimens that weren't there, because the boxes were empty.  Stops our labs were paying for, day in and day out, regardless of necessity.  A huge ongoing fixed cost, at a time when our reimbursements were going down.

At the same time, the system had an even worse flaw: No one knew for sure which boxes had specimens in them or not.  Had any gotten "lost" in the system?  Had someone forgotten to check the box?  Was it left after the courier had already stopped?  Did a specimen get left behind?

The amount of confusion, stress and inefficiency, with all the back and forth phone call trying to track down specimens that were MIA, was staggering.

Not to mention the anguish that patients suffered, waiting excruciating extra days for lab results, some of which never arrived, because their specimen was lost or left behind.

My career in other industries had focused on operational transformation and cost efficiency during market upheaval.  And I realized that all this financial and operational strain was happening in the lab business because- even in today's world of ultra-connected technology- our specimen boxes were still in the dark ages.

I thought, if only we could make the box smarter. 

If only there were a way for the box to let everyone know:

     whether a specimen was inside

     when it was placed inside

     and if and when it was picked up

Then we could finally close the gap in the vital pipeline that transported specimens to and from labs and clinics.  We'd never leave a specimen behind.

And we could stop paying for all those empty box stops.  Because couriers could come only when needed.

That's how the idea for labsmartbox™ was born. 

Using a combination of proven and widely used technology, we applied it to the use of lab specimen boxes.  It was a simple "why-didn't-someone-think-of-this-before" solution that I'm proud is now available to transform the laboratory supply chain forever.

With labsmartbox™ there's finally no more mystery about the all-important first step of a specimen's journey.  Labs can now eliminate the empty box stop and most importantly, never leave a specimen behind.

Kathleen Winter

Inventor of the labsmartbox

President of Winter Ventures, LLC