March 15, 2023

How Pharmacy Temperature Monitoring Systems Can Improve Productivity

Recent statistics reveal that the United States has 27,849 pharmacies and drug stores. Pharmacies play a pivotal role in healthcare, dispensing medications to the public. While some medication is to heal an ailment, others are a matter of life and death.

Pharmacies ensure that the right person gets the right medicine when needed. They are responsible for reviewing prescriptions, health insurance plans, and current medications. This requires meeting rigorous standards.

Pharmacy temperature monitoring is critical to ensuring the integrity of their products. If they do not maintain their temperature control, they cannot guarantee the medication they dispense is viable.

A temperature monitoring system does not need to burden employees. Remote monitoring systems are much more efficient, and here is why.

What Are Temperature Monitoring Systems?

It revolves around technology. Initially, it was meant to reduce waste, but the capabilities are much more. A temperature monitoring system regulates and controls the temperature of its environment. 

It allows humans to track, regulate, and control the temperature. This is important for storing temperature-dependent products. Beyond pharmacies, they are essential in hospitals, food businesses, and other industries. 

Remote temperature control has amazing features like:

  • Temperature tracking
  • Reports
  • Automatic alerts
  • Notifications for temperature change
  • Customized indicators

Imagine having innovative technology that warns you of potential damage to life-saving medications. Your human labor can focus on solutions versus identifying the problem.

Proper Medication Storage

A significant concern in the pharmacy field is that they are storing medication properly. Pharmaceutical products need a storage space with a consistent temperature range. Plus, they must meet certain moisture levels.

Medications need to be placed in certain conditions to maintain their integrity.

In fact, pharmaceutical products can become defective in less than a day. The amount of time it will take you to rectify the situation, however, can take much longer. This includes the amount of time it will take for new shipments to arrive.

The active ingredients of the medication will degrade over time. However, integrity can be preserved when pharmaceutical products are kept in a place with proper storage conditions. This includes keeping them somewhere that has remote temperature control.

Four Types of Conditions

Usually, pharmaceutical medications require a storage location that is dry, dark, and cool. Unfortunately, a high temperature can alter the chemical makeup of a medication. Tablets could degrade in places with high moisture.

Medication needs these four types of conditions to maintain its integrity.

Cold Storage

In Fahrenheit, between 36 to 46 degrees is considered cold, while in Celsius, the range is between two to eight degrees. This is an optimal range for preventing microbial growth and chemical reactions. Highly degradable drugs and vitamins usually require cold storage spaces.

Cool Storage

In Fahrenheit, a cool storage place has a temperature range of 46 to 59 degrees. In Celsius, between eight to 15 degrees is considered cool.

Fridge Storage

Some medications require a refrigerator for storage. The temperature for fridge storage ranges from 25 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit or minus four to two degrees Celsius.

Room Temperature

Many medications are designed for room temperature. They can stay stable at 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. 

Room temperature is a common requirement. Even with room-temperature medications, you need a pharmacy temperature monitoring system.

Manufacturer Recommendations

Many pharmaceutical manufacturers recommend discarding their products if a medication exceeds their recommended temperature range for five-plus hours. That is because higher temperatures can cause a change in the molecular level. When the active chemicals decompose, it can cause medications to be less potent, and sometimes it can cause a change in the effects.

When a medication is degraded, it can be life-altering and sometimes life-threatening. Proper storage is imperative. Notable medications that can be affected by temperatures include birth control, eye-drop medications, inhaled drugs, injectable diabetes treatments, and various antibiotics.

Product With Sensitivity to High Temperatures

Pharmaceutical products in storage at high temperatures can cause the active ingredient content to decrease. This is because hydrolyzation, oxidation, and other methods are causing degradation. Products could even turn toxic.

The longer a product spends in storage at a high temperature, the higher the degradation will be. Properties can alter, too, such as the separation of emulsions, the color of the medication, or the rate at which it dissolves.

Product With Sensitivity to Low Temperatures

In this scenario, the product could lose its therapeutic properties. This usually occurs after a thaw or freeze cycle. It can render the medication ineffective because it permanently changes the physical structure of the active ingredient.

The physical usability of the product could be lost after the thaw or freeze cycle. For example, a cream that separates will no longer have the same consistency.

The Role of the Pharmacy

The pharmaceutical manufacturer assumes responsibility for temperature control until the pharmacy accepts the products. Once pharmaceutical products are in the hands of the pharmacy, it is the pharmacy’s responsibility to store the product in the proper room temperature range. Further, they must document the temperatures per product instructions and government regulations.

Effective storage for pharmaceutical products relies on three things which include a well-trained staff, accurate inventory management, and reliable storage. Reliable storage includes accurate temperature monitoring equipment.

The Role of Remote Temperature Control

Many pharmacies still manually monitor their temperatures and conditions. However, manually monitoring temperatures can be inaccurate. It can also be inconsistent.

Further, temperature checks can be limited to human working hours when your employees are present to record the temperature. That is why many pharmacies are looking toward temperature monitoring systems to help them be more productive.

Improve Productivity and Efficiency

A temperature control monitoring system records the conditions of the environment with wireless sensors. It can monitor the temperature using a wireless network, logging the temperature of the pharmacy storage area. Then, it sends records of the temperatures to a database.

Some temperature monitoring systems can measure humidity.

If the temperature or humidity of the pharmacy space falls outside of the thresholds set on the temperature monitoring system, it will send an alert. When you receive such as alert, you can send someone quickly to resolve the issue. Therefore, you can correct it before the problem negatively impacts a medication.

Eliminating Manual Processes and Human Errors

Using remote monitoring systems will streamline the process for your pharmacy. Plus, it will increase the accuracy of your records.

When you are not manually logging temperatures, it eliminates the possibility of human error. Plus, manual logging is time-consuming. When you do not have your human workforce spending their time on mundane tasks, they can use their time on things that are of more excellent value to your pharmacy.

Handwriting is not perfect writing. Can you read what the person logging the temperature and date is writing?

Further, if there is an issue with the temperature, you hope your people are trustworthy and will not manipulate the logs. However, there is no guarantee that a human will not make an error and deliberately cover it up, even for fear of losing their job.

A Way to Gather Insight

Having access to temperature data, both in real-time and a log of historical data, allows management to analyze it. There could be trends developing. You may even be able to predict a problem before it occurs.

Pharmacies have strict regulations. They must be compliant with the law. A pharmacy is subject to inspections.

Inspections include many things, like proper supervision of pharmacy staff, security of the pharmacy area, appropriate workspaces, such as the size of the area and access to sinks, and more. Pharmacies need practices that are sterile and have high standards of hygiene.

A Better Way to Manage Records

Furthermore, you need to provide records. Are you able to quickly pull records around the storage of products?

Imagine providing a daily temperature analysis by hand. How would you quickly determine the average temperature over 60 days? Can you quickly pull a line graph together to show potential spikes in the temperature, either spiking up or spiking down?

If you have an inspection or your manager requests information about your temperature readings for storage, you need an efficient way to provide the data quickly.

If there is ever a doubt about the practices of your pharmacy and how you are logging temperatures, the data is readily available with a remote monitoring system. No matter when you need it, the data is accurate and complete.

Pharmacy Safety

A temperature monitoring system protects everyone. It protects management, employees, and customers who need their prescriptions. It is an intelligent way to keep operations running smoothly without burdening employees with manual labor.

Reduces the Potential Waste

If the temperature is not correct, and there is a degradation in products, you cannot give them to customers. You will need to restock your supply, and this is costly. You want to know if there is a problem well before that occurs to ensure you do not end up with waste and unnecessary costs.

Discarding medication you cannot give customers is a timely task. You do not want to waste time on manual labor, but you do not want to waste time cleaning up and fixing the problem. Not to mention, many reports will need to be drafted about what happened and how to prevent it in the future.

Remote temperature control is a much better way to prevent potentially catastrophic events.

Consistent Quality

Even if the temperatures keep within the range you need them to, still, it helps to have temperature consistency. You should demand high-quality standards for your pharmacy to serve your customers better. This ensures customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Monitoring Systems Measure More Than Just Temperature

While monitoring storage temperature is key, other factors can harm pharmaceutical products. Wouldn’t it be great to check the other factors too? With the right system, you can.

Most monitoring systems measure CO2 and humidity inside a storage fridge. This is important for the safety and quality of the product.

Some systems can also track water leaks, power outages, and lights too. You will be notified if something in your storage area is abnormal, even beyond the temperature. Knowing when there is an issue makes it much easier to fix.

Better knowledge is a massive part of improving productivity!

Benefits of Remote Pharmacy Temperature Monitoring

In 2022, the medical thermometer market in the United States was valued at USD 121.38 million. While many medical thermometers are on the market, opting for remote temperature control far outweighs anything else you can find. That’s because of its superior benefits.

You can enjoy the following features with remote temperature control for pharmacy temperature monitoring.

  • Avoid compliance issues
  • Consistency
  • Eliminate the risk of human error
  • Fast and easy accessibility
  • Improve accuracy
  • More analytics and reports
  • Quality assurance
  • Reduce waste
  • Safety
  • Save energy
  • Save money
  • Save time

Pharmacies get busy, and customers need help quickly. You can be more productive, focusing on customers while knowing your temperature storage is controlled.

The Latest Technology for Pharmacy Professionals

This is a rapidly growing technology for the pharmaceutical industry. Don’t get left behind! Your customers trust that you are keeping up to date on trends.

Manually keeping track of the conditions of your storage area is time-consuming and prone to errors. Let pharmacy temperature monitoring technology take the reins and help you be more efficient.

Since 2005, SensoScientific has been the preferred environmental monitoring system for pharmacies. They help pharmacies like yours, every day, meet rigorous standards continually, and fast! You have the power to give full audit transparency.

Contact SensoScientific to learn more.

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