Temperature monitoring during drug transport and storage3 November 2017
The Lower Silesian Oncology Centre is the first hospital in Poland to install Blulog’s wireless solution for temperature monitoring. The machine-to-machine technology enables medical staff to maintain correct conditions during transport and storage of drugs, and, above all, to save time previously dedicated to manual temperature verification.
Drugs, vaccines, blood and other biological materials are extremely sensitive to temperature variations. They must be kept and transported within a precisely set temperature range at all times; therefore, 24/7 monitoring is needed.
Among the most temperature-sensitive materials are:
- cytotoxic (anticancer) drugs: for many of them, the temperature during transport or storage should not be lower than 2°C or higher than 8°C – any breaches can cause their quality reduction or loss
- blood and blood-based preparations: constant and very precise monitoring in all medical centres is required by law.
Currently, to obtain written proof of temperature history for transported and stored products, hospitals and other medical institutions in Poland generally use either simple thermometers that require manual reading and special written reports, or data loggers that must be connected to a computer in order to complete data reading. However, it is now possible to automate the process in order to save the medical staff time and enable real-time alerts in case of cold-chain breaches.
Temperature monitoring in hospitals: now and then
Polish-French company Blulog has developed a temperature-monitoring solution based on revolutionary machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. Credit-card-sized data loggers that measure temperature every ten minutes, several years of autonomy, data encryption, an easy-to-use application and high precision – this, in a nutshell, is the solution that Blulog has come up with. The new remote and real-time temperature-monitoring system has recently been adopted – for the first time in hospitals – by the Lower Silesian Oncology Centre in Wroclaw, Poland. Until now, the medical staff had to:
- be constantly engaged in control procedures
- create reports manually
- rely on a solution of very limited functionalities for complex control of the entire hospital.
Moreover, the previously used solution was very problematic, especially during transport of products – it was difficult to organise a suitable control of thermal conditions during the whole process. Now, thanks to the solution developed by Blulog, cytotoxic drugs produced by the Lower Silesian Oncology Centre’s drug preparation laboratory are delivered to Wroclaw’s Clinical Public Hospital No. 1 in NFC-connected isothermal boxes. The solution also allows control over the transport of medicines to affiliates located in Legnica (more than 70km away) and Jelenia Góra (more than 110km away). Blulog devices guarantee the highest quality of transported products.
The implementation of the temperature-monitoring system allows staff to:
- monitor and analyse conditions in every area of the hospital where drugs and other temperature-sensitive products are stored, including warehouses, hospital departments, diagnostics laboratories, operating rooms, cabinets and studies (all of the sensitive areas are monitored).
- implement new standards – medical staff responsible for the drugs’ efficacy have obtained a new tool to control the conditions in which they are kept, as well as to access information to optimise cold-store equipment.
- better manage human resources as medical staff previously responsible for temperature management have more time.
Piotr Steciwko, vice-head of the pharmacy in Lower Silesian Oncology Centre, says: “We have constant access to real-time data and to the measurement history, which allows us to know precisely in what conditions the drugs were kept, from delivery to the moment we give them to patients. Assuring the highest quality of therapy is our biggest priority, and maintaining correct conditions during storage and transport can greatly influence the results. Moreover, the applied solution is very easy to use, and the data we get can help us optimise our cold-store equipment and air conditioners to keep the conditions at a suitable level at all times.”
How does M2M work?
To assure the highest data security, Blulog’s system is entirely protected and encrypted, and thus resistant to all possible manipulations by third parties. From the hospital’s point of view, the new solution is more ergonomic.
“Our devices measure the temperature with an average precision of ±0.2°C within the 0.0–30.0°C range and ±0.4°C at the rest of the range. Users can choose their own limits and get immediate alerts in case of breaches,” Jérémy Laurens, sales and marketing director at Blulog, explains. “Precise data is stored in a secure server. We can also generate reports and graphs. Another advantage is that users can receive notifications immediately in case of any divergence.”
Temperature monitoring is possible thanks to two technologies: NFC (used for proximity payments) and RF/NFC (radio transmission). With NFC – which is used by the hospital for temperature monitoring during transport – special personalisable diodes inform about breaches. RF/NFC, which is implemented in the hospital itself, is even more comfortable for users; in case of breaches, an email or SMS is automatically sent to alert authorised staff. To read the data, users can use either an NFC-enabled smartphone or reader.
“Our cooperation with the Lower Silesian Oncology Centre has allowed us to bring a new level of quality to temperature control in the healthcare sector,” states Leszek Zukrowski, business development director at Blulog. “We have recently received a lot of feedback that suggests the implementation of our solution is being perceived as a new standard among healthcare companies, not only in Poland but also in the whole of Europe.
“The infrastructure we built enables us to introduce many other functionalities in order to automate existing processes. The solution we present is an example of a new business model, corresponding to principles of industry 4.0,” Zukrowski concludes.