If critical vaccines and other pharmaceuticals are stored at an unsafe temperature for too long, they can lose their potency. For patients with chronic illnesses, taking a damaged dosage can be life-threatening. But even common medicines can break down and have harmful effects, and it can be difficult to tell the difference between a compromised product and a safe one. That's why pharmaceutical and vaccine providers must take appropriate measures to ensure all pharmaceutical products are stored at the correct temperature.
The cold chain is the process for keeping medicines at a consistent cold temperature, from manufacturing through distribution and storage to end use. However, the cold chain can be broken due to a number of reasons.
To prevent a cold chain failure, many facilities are installing remote monitoring systems. These systems are the most cost-effective way to ensure continuous monitoring of items stored in medical-grade refrigerators and freezers. They alert you when temperatures inside change for any reason, threatening medicines. Learn how they offer protection against the biggest causes of cold chain failure.
1. Equipment failure
Learning immediately about equipment malfunctions or breakdowns is critical to protecting your medical inventory. Refrigerators and freezers need to be running constantly at the correct temperatures to prevent damage to valuable products. Regular equipment maintenance helps you avoid expensive repairs, but what happens if an issue occurs in between scheduled maintenance visits?
To protect your medical inventory, it is important to have a remote monitoring system in place that can monitor critical conditions at all times using sensors. That way, you can check for early warning signs of equipment failure, including power and temperature fluctuations.
These systems also function as data loggers, making them ideal for Vaccines for Children (VFC) providers or any facilities that store refrigerated or frozen pharmaceutical products. They keep a record of all temperature data so you can download it any time to prove compliance. This data also allows you to identify patterns and trends in equipment and environmental conditions and detect problems before they cause costly downtime.
2. Power failure
Maintaining a constant supply of power to refrigerators and freezers ensures that vaccines and medicines are stored at the optimal temperature. Power outages can lead to a break in the cold chain, potentially resulting in widespread loss of inventory.
Remote monitoring systems notify you as soon as there’s a change in power status. Designated personnel will receive an alert via text message, email or phone call. Additionally, a battery back-up system will provide 8 hours of continuous monitoring. This gives you plenty of time to address the problem before your inventory is compromised.
3. Human error
Power outages and equipment failure aren’t the only events that can compromise vaccines and medicines. Human error is another leading cause of cold chain failure. Human error occurs when refrigerators and freezers are left unmonitored. This might happen because the staff was too busy to log temperatures or a door was left ajar.
Remote monitoring systems can minimize the risk of human error. They provide assurance that temperatures remain within the recommended ranges and enable you to take quick corrective action when temperatures go out of range. Staff members will receive a notification as soon as temperatures change due to an open refrigerator or freezer door. These notifications are particularly useful if your facility will be left unattended for extended periods of time.
Vaccines and pharmaceutical products are expensive and sometimes slow to replace. Remote monitoring systems protect them 24/7 and provide an audit trail for proving compliance. For more information or help selecting the right solution, contact a Sensaphone expert today.