Introduction to centralised temperature monitoring system for the clinical sector
March 15th , 2022 by Monika Australia & Asia Pacific
There are several ways to comply with regulations for the safe storage of medicines. But which is the most accurate and reliable? Most commonly, healthcare organisations will take twice-daily temperature readings and/or install a basic data logger in their refrigeration equipment.
Unfortunately, neither of these methods are completely failsafe, particularly in large organisations where multiple units must be monitored simultaneously. This is where a centralised temperature monitoring system comes into its own.
This blog post outlines how centralised digital temperature monitoring works, and how it offers maximum visibility and protection in the event of a cold chain breach. But first, let’s explain some of the shortcomings of other monitoring methods.
Manual temperature checks
At a minimum, temperature-sensitive medicines must be checked twice daily to ensure no breaches or non-conformances have occurred. However, this takes up valuable staff time and is subject to human or equipment error: staff may forget to take a reading, thermometers can be inaccurate, and the gel simulant used to measure temperatures can be knocked or damaged. Finally, without ongoing, real-time monitoring, you have no way of knowing for sure if or when a temperature excursion occurred, and for how long.
Temperature data loggers are small electronic devices that measure temperatures at preset time intervals. They can be either standalone, which means the data collected must be routinely downloaded by a staff member to a computer or networked wirelessly so that data is automatically uploaded to a central storage system. In our experience, most healthcare institutions will use the former as they are an inexpensive, ‘plug and play’ option.
The major downside to using standalone data loggers is that like manual temperature readings, they won’t alert you in real-time to a potential temperature breach – wherever you are. There will be times when you are off-site and your refrigeration equipment is not performing optimally or even failing, and you could be none the wiser.
Even networked data loggers have their limitations: first, in large organisations, their technology may not be sophisticated enough to network multiple buildings and sites. Second, they often won’t have the desired level of software intelligence to help you review equipment performance across your organisation – either at a glance or in-depth.
Third, both standalone and networked data loggers only measure air temperature – not product temperature – which is not an accurate indicator of product safety, as each medicine behaves differently in response to air temperature fluctuations.
Finally, in our experience, data loggers are not routinely calibrated by a licensed technician. This is critical to ensuring temperature accuracy, particularly for medicines that are sensitive to the slightest fluctuation (for example, some vaccines).
Centralised digital temperature monitoring
- 24/7 alarms and alert escalation systems mean pharmacy staff can act quickly before a cold chain breach occurs – wherever they are.
- Live reporting dashboards give pharmacy teams peace of mind that equipment is operating as it should be throughout the day.
- Retrospective reporting shows exactly how long stock may have been out of safe range – ensuring stock that is safe is not wasted, and stock that is unsafe is not used.
- Temperature sensors simulate product temperatures, are routinely calibrated and can be customised to different medicine types to always ensure the highest level of accuracy.
Monika’s Equipment Management solution uses a battery or wired sensors and a hub to collect temperature data from your equipment and sends it to the cloud via Wi-Fi. Data can be analysed and turned into reports using Monika’s Enterprise Management software, which gives visibility across your entire organisation and always keeps you inspection/audit-ready.
MonikaPrime temperature monitoring at a glance:
- Monika sensors collect data and send it to the cloud continuously
- Alarms are generated to prompt swift remedial action
- Product temperatures are simulated for the greatest accuracy
- Temperature limits can be configured for specific requirements
- Equipment performance can be monitored centrally across multiple sites
- Humidity and door open sensors, defrost and compressor monitoring can be added if required.