April 22, 2022
Refrigerator Temperature Monitoring Systems: A Comprehensive Guide
All laboratories and medical facilities install safe cold-chain storage of vaccines and drugs to prevent their loss of efficacy from incorrect temperature ranges. Once these drugs lose their effectiveness, there is no way to restore them, resulting in billions of dollars of wasted products.
To ensure the efficiency of these temperature-sensitive drugs and vaccines, refrigerator temperature monitoring systems help maintain a suitable temperature range. Without these measures in place, you lose a significant amount of money in materials, and you may also lose the trust of your clients.
If you want to learn more about these temperature monitoring solutions, continue reading below. This brief guide will cover all you need to know about these monitoring solutions and who you can contact for further guidance.
The Importance of Refrigerator Temperature Monitoring Systems
Maintaining the cold chain process is crucial in all medical facilities, especially when storing temperature-dependent materials. To help keep a practical and functional cold chain, you must have accurate inventory management and well-trained staff members. In addition to that, you also need reputable temperature monitoring technology.
If you need to store vaccines, you must keep them in their correct temperature range to ensure efficacy and service life. Vaccines that fall outside the acceptable temperature range are not efficient. Patients who receive doses from those vaccines will need re-vaccinations.
There is no standard accepted temperature for all vaccines and other biological substances. This is because the components in the medicine have their own set of compositions and storage requirements.
Some substances must be frozen, whereas others may demand specific temperatures. For medical staff members, strict compliance can be a challenge.
Refrigerator Temperature Monitoring Solutions
Because strict compliance can be complex for medical professionals, specific refrigerator temperature monitoring systems are available. Monitoring vaccines and samples with equipment that can record and log data, such as a temperature monitoring device, can provide you with actual temperature readings.
Temperature monitoring devices, also known as TMDs, can record items’ minimum and maximum temperature inside refrigeration units. If the temperature inside of the refrigeration unit reaches an undesirable range, it will alert medical staff right away so they can remedy the situation.
Your office staff can focus more on their essential tasks with these measures in place. If the medication needs their immediate attention, the alarms will let them know.
30-Day Electronic Temperature Recorders
This device is placed with the items inside the refrigeration unit. It will record the refrigerator temperature at least once every ten minutes or less for 30 consecutive days.
The 30-day electronic temperature recorder, also known as 30 DTR, will also log thirty days of any freezing or high-temperature alarm interruptions that happened. These devices are highly recommended for vaccine refrigerators but not for vaccine freezers.
Electronic Freeze Indicators
Electronic freeze indicators are the opposite of 30 DTRs because they work best in freezers instead of refrigerators. If there are no 30 DTRs available, you can still use these electronic freeze indicators; but it’s not recommended.
Electronic freeze indicators are small digital temperature sensors that show if the items in the refrigerator have been exposed to freezing temperatures. Once the alarm goes off, you can’t use the device again. You will need to dispose of them immediately.
Digital Data Logger
Digital data loggers, also known as DDL, cost more than standard thermometers, but they provide you with continuous data monitoring and storage. Unlike manual thermometers, digital data loggers have probes that can accurately and directly measure the temperature of vaccines or other medical substances.
They can also show data on how long a refrigeration unit operated outside of the pre-set temperature range. To ensure that your digital data logger works as it should, it will have a valid Calibration Report.
Temperature Monitoring Systems Basics
Monitoring the temperature of your medical substances independently of the freezer’s own internal temperature provides you with a way to assure the temperature is always within a specific range.
There are three basic parameters your refrigerator should have for best results:
- Freezer alarm panel monitoring systems
- Power failure monitoring
- Independent temperature monitoring
Most commercial-grade freezers and refrigerators have alarms that will alert your staff if the temperature changes significantly, but what happens when there is no one present? If your freezer has an alarm feature, there is an excellent chance it also has an alarm panel. When you wire this alarm panel to a remote monitoring device, the system will alert a user if an alarm goes off after office hours.
Root Causes of Rising Temperatures
The root cause of the temperature rising in the freezer are power failures. When you install the right temperature sensor technology, it will monitor for power failures and alert you when you lose power. Most reputable temperature sensor technologies have built-in backup batteries, providing you with 24-hour monitoring.
Temperature Monitoring Devices Alarms
It does not take long for temperature changes to negatively affect your cold medical products and vaccines. As mentioned earlier, when the temperature in your refrigeration or freezer unit starts to veer out of the pre-programmed limit, an alarm will go out.
Depending on your system, you can have this information sent out via email, phone call, or text message. You have the opportunity to schedule the alarm to be sent out to certain personnel at once or in escalating tiers. When someone acknowledges the alarm and remedies the situation, an audit log will provide you with that information.
TMDs can record temperature data at set intervals, and you can set it to log more frequently after an alarming incident. Using these system’s data logging abilities can prove your company’s compliance to regulators. You can review graphs and other monitoring information remotely if needed.
How Do Remote Refrigerator Temperature Monitoring Systems Work?
There are several different types of wireless temperature sensors that you can use. For example, there are temperature sensors with probes, waterproof sensors, or high accuracy sensors.
These wireless sensors have the ability to read temperature parameters at least once every five minutes. The data from these sensors are delivered to an online reporting system through an internet data gateway. The internet data gateway has internal memory for backup to avoid data leakage in the event of internet connection issues.
How to Install Temperature Monitoring Systems
Cloud-based refrigerator and freezer temperature monitoring systems aren’t challenging to install. Even though these systems perform complex operations, they are relatively easy to install.
You just need to plug one into an internet connection and several other temperature probes into the monitoring system. Once the system’s physical equipment is all set up, you can program your devices via a user-friendly website.
If you purchase wireless monitors and alarms, you won’t need to deal with any physical wire connections. Instead, each unit will use batteries to power them. The units have the capability to connect directly to the internet.
When you install a recently repaired or brand new medical refrigerator, it usually takes about two to seven days for the temperature to stabilize. Before you store anything in this new unit, be sure to check and record the minimum and maximum temperatures of the unit for about two to six days.
If you cannot record the data digitally, you can check it manually at least twice a day. Once the temperature inside of the unit measures within a recommended range for two consecutive, the unit is stable and ready to be used.
Why Are Refrigerator Temperature Monitoring Solutions Necessary?
One of the biggest reasons why it is crucial to monitor the temperature of medical substances is because of safety reasons. Temperature-sensitive medications can become poisonous or ineffective if they are left out of their recommended temperature for too long. Monitoring the temperature of certain substances ensures proper storage and allows your medical staff members to dispose of materials that have potential risks.
Laboratories that manufacture products or conduct research must have replicable results. All products must be uniform and standardized to ensure efficacy.
If the material is left out in an environment that can damage its components, and no one notices, medical staff may record inaccurate information. As this inaccurate data moves downstream, the data analyzed with those ineffective drugs will harm its efficacy.
Refrigerator temperature monitoring systems are cost-effective. They will alert your staff members of any temperature fluctuations in areas where your medical substances are held. They can then intervene and protect those climate-controlled substances before the temperature exceeds the safe temperature zone.
Without this type of intervention, you must dispose of any overheated items. Preventing these types of losses can save your company millions, if not billions of dollars. With newly launched cold-chain pharma products hitting the market, the need for proper cold-chain protocols is more important than ever. It is estimated that by 2024, there will be $341 billion worth of cold-chain products.
Protects You Legally
It is important to properly take care of your medical substances per the rules and regulations set out by government agencies. When you use a reputable and dependable temperature monitoring system, you can avoid accidental non-compliance.
The CDC, also known as the Centers for Disease Control, imposes mandates to prevent the risk or spread of injury or illness. This organization published laboratory manuals with procedures on how to handle certain diseases and drugs. These manuals are exceptionally useful for labs that work with temperature-sensitive materials.
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates medical practices, substances, and devices. All labs that handle medical or drug equipment must follow FDA-approved procedures and guidelines.
Using refrigerator temperature monitoring solutions is FDA approved and recommended. When you use them in your labs, you are compliant and meet FDA standards.
The Food and Drug Administration regularly updates its Good Laboratory Practices, including proper temperature monitoring protocols. You can use this document to clarify any concerns about the FDA’s laboratory regulations.
Best Temperature Monitoring Practices
To ensure that your laboratory reaps all of the benefits of temperature monitoring technology, there are some best practices you can follow. For example, you must ensure that all of your instruments are correctly calibrated. Over time, these measurement tools lose their accuracy.
Laboratories will need to schedule calibration to reset their instruments and tune them to the standard of accuracy. To stay compliant and save time, you may want to outsource your calibration needs to a specialist. This will allow the lab staff to focus their time on other essential tasks.
Mitigating Certain Environmental Factors
Certain environmental factors can affect the calibration of your items. Elemental, pressure and airflow degradation can affect your metric tool’s accuracy.
To prevent elemental exposure or changes in pressure, laboratories should take steps to minimize these changes. For example, a laboratory can implement automated doors, choose high-adhesion gaskets, adhere to a routine cleaning schedule, and prevent over-stuffing refrigerators.
Protect Your Compounds and Your Reputation
Properly monitoring cold storage in the medical and health industry is a massive priority. It is vital that medical facilities have proper storage and efficient monitoring equipment that is maintained regularly and set up correctly.
Failure to do so can result in patients receiving compromised and ineffective vaccines. This can lead to a large number of re-vaccinations and millions of dollars of waste. This may also discourage future patients from using products from your laboratory. If you are interested in learning more about refrigerator temperature monitoring systems, contact us now!