In healthcare environments, the conditions in which medicines, samples and other critical inventory are stored can have a huge effect on their safety, efficacy and quality. Manual monitoring of fridge temperatures makes it to determine how long stock has been exposed to an out-of-spec temperature. The only safe option is to dispose of the stock. Every fridge may have its own thermostat, yet these are not reliable or independent. And busy staff, under pressure, may overlook manual monitoring duties, or fail to address an out of range temperature notification.
These challenges can be overcome by using an automated, calibrated temperature monitoring system. But how do you present the case for the automating your temperature monitoring? How do you get buy in from colleagues and budgetary sign-off?
What would it mean to your clinic if you lost patient trust?
Take a moment to audit your current systems. Consider the staffing and processes currently in place. Where is there room for improvement and what do you do to meet or exceed regulatory compliance? Importantly, consider what you need to do to confidently demonstrate compliance and so maintain your patients’ trust.
What is the labour requirement to perform temperature monitoring manually?
Consider putting together some simple figures, where you evaluate the cost of staff time, and the potential risk of lost stock. Ask yourself: is it acceptable to expect staff to complete these processes manually? Can they consistently meet CQC standards with the time and resources they have? This can then be compared against the risk appetite for your department. With this information, you can build a business case for automated monitoring.
What is the value of the stock you are protecting?
Consider the cost of disposing of stock that has been exposed to out-of-spec temperatures. If you weren’t alerted to a temperature variance immediately, you may need to dispose of valuable items. With an automated notification, you can take action to save the stock, in little to no time by: closing an open door, re-packing the fridge with proper circulation and space to allow the fridge to operate properly, or relocating.
Do you need to put the contract out for tender?
Gaining budgetary sign off, particularly in a healthcare setting can be a complicated and dauting task. Thankfully Checkit’s Automated Monitoring + systems are listed on the NHS Supply Chain Medical National Framework Agreement. We are also fully versed in the tendering process. Once you have gathered together your case for automation, you can justify the expenditure against the savings, in terms of staff time and stock protected.
How should you or your staff be notified of a temperature alarm?
With an automated temperature monitoring system, you will need a call or notification rota to be in place. A rota for day or night, bank holidays and vacations, so vital medicines can be saved and managed effectively 24/7. What’s the best way to be notified? In our experience it is by a person. When a person calls you to let you know that your vaccine fridge is over temperature you understand that timely action is needed. And when your name is attached to that call and incident report, you are likely to act immediately.
Is the monitoring system scalable for managing multiple sites?
You may have more than one storage location you want monitored. Consider whether the monitoring system you are choosing is able to report clearly across multiple sites, without having to visit in person. With monthly reports you can see patterns emerge, certain sites will have more failures than others, stock loses can be allocated to clinics, asset performance can be monitored, fridge manufacturer claims can be verified. This allows you to investigate the causes.
How simple is it to install and train staff?
Consider what your provider is offering in terms of of the installation, training, setup and monitoring for you. For example, Checkit is fully integrated with the NHS N3 Cloud, so implementation is seamless, and will not burden the local IT department. We are happy to provide a demonstration of the interface, with its intuitive dashboards and clear reporting mechanisms. We also provide face to face training and ongoing support. In addition calibration is carried out by our engineers, on-site, so there is not disruption to you, your staff, or the monitoring of your valuable stock.
With a calibration contract you can be sure you are never out of compliance. In summary, by investing in your clinic and your staff you are also investing in the trust you want to build with your patients.
Find out more on our Connected Automated Monitoring solutions.
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