Laboratory managers are facing an increasing array of daily pressures. But the need to maintain the highest standards of quality and safety never goes away. That’s why there’s a move towards greater automation. Laboratory temperature monitoring is a prime example.
Laboratory temperature monitoring systems replace manual checking routines with wireless sensors that enable continuous vigilance over the storage conditions of critical and temperature-sensitive inventory.
Depending on the nature of the laboratory environment, critical inventory can range from patient cells, tissues and blood units to reagents, test samples and various consumables. Their safety quality often depends on consistent storage in fridges and freezers.
For many years, routine checks on storage temperatures were conducted manually by laboratory staff at regular intervals. But stronger regulatory scrutiny, commercial pressures, staff shortages and the push for increased throughput have put new levels of strain on historic procedures.
At the same time, laboratory temperature monitoring systems have evolved their capabilities, leading to a rise in adoption across clinical, pharmaceutical, bioscience and research facilities.
If you’re considering an update or building a business case, this blog outlines five key benefits of laboratory temperature monitoring solutions.
How to reduce risk with laboratory temperature monitoring?
Strict regulations govern day-to-day practice in laboratory environments but these vary widely depending on the scientific focus of the facility. Laboratory managers are often devising and navigating complex roadmaps to remain both efficient and compliant, including Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) or Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) standards.
Variation from set procedures can put the quality and safety of critical inventory at risk, which may not only impact stakeholder confidence but could lead to the loss of valuable items, with financial consequences and potential regulatory sanctions too.
Laboratory temperature monitoring systems provide round-the-clock vigilance over critical inventory so that issues can be identified and dealt with before the risk escalates. Checkit users include animal research laboratories that store valuable reference materials in ultra low-temperature freezers for up to 40 years. The same laboratories have applied sensors to fridges, incubators and ovens to ensure correct temperatures are maintained.
Another user of the Checkit system is Abcam, the global life sciences organisation, which monitors a range of parameters from room temperature to freezer storage as low as -80C. Logistics inventory manager Edward Mole said: “We are now able to monitor our key storage units, including ultra-cold temperatures down to -80°C, with a modern system. This helps us minimise the threat of losing temperature-critical samples. On occasions where we can’t spot freezer malfunctions visually, Checkit gives us total security. We can see right away which email alerts need our attention.”
Specific advantages of Checkit’s laboratory temperature monitoring solution include full adherence to calibration standards such as UKAS ISO17025 and the ISO 9001 quality standard.
How to increase throughput with laboratory temperature monitoring?
Rising demand for laboratory services create pressure on teams to increase throughput. Laboratory temperature monitoring systems take a major manual compliance burden away from staff so they can spend more productive time on core processes.
The automatic creation of alerts and reports also reduced administrative time spent handling paperwork and preparing for audits. Checkit’s intelligent operations platform goes several steps further, with the option to design and share common workflows and procedures. These are available to staff via a mobile handset or app, prompting, guiding and logging standard operating procedures (SOPs) at specific times and locations. This contributes to streamlined processes, saving time and increasing overall throughput.
How to strengthen SOPs with laboratory temperature monitoring?
A range of essential tasks have to be completed and supervised by laboratory managers on a daily basis. It’s vital to ensure that laboratory operations adhere to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), including the correct maintenance of facilities and equipment.
Robust laboratory temperature monitoring systems ensure correct storage protocols are maintained around the clock. They also provide a digital audit trail. The latest solutions – including Checkit’s intelligent operations platform – not only offer live alerts when set temperature parameters are breached but can deliver immediate details and recommended actions to staff via their mobile devices. This empowers them to rectify issues quickly and creates a log of action taken, in line with standard operating procedures.
A key advantage is that the onboarding of new laboratory staff can be sped up with digital coordination of procedures so they are readily available wherever and whenever someone is working. Whether a laboratory is involved in research and development, manufacturing or storage, these are ever-changing environments. This cements the need for easy access to real-time information on overall laboratory operations.
How to protect equipment with laboratory temperature monitoring?
The knowledge that laboratory equipment including storage units are performing properly is vital for laboratory managers who need to guarantee the quality and consistency of their records or research outcomes. But it can be difficult to determine how well and fridge or freezer is performing, particularly when relying on intermittent manual checks or scheduled servicing intervals.
Laboratory temperature monitoring systems provide continuous vigilance and an early warning of faults that may be developing. Whether a unit is new or nearing the end of its life, monitoring systems provide valuable insight to ensure efficient, safe and reliable performance. Without this in place, problems may not be spotted until too late, which can lead to expensive replacement or repair bills. Laboratory equipment represents a major investment and deserves full protection. In this area alone, expenditure on laboratory temperature monitoring can show a rapid return on investment.
How to save time with laboratory temperature monitoring systems?
Laboratory temperature monitoring contributes to streamlined processes, saving time across numerous areas of laboratory operations. Robust monitoring systems reduce the amount of time dedicated to maintaining equipment and facility operations, which can unlock productivity gains elsewhere. Having accurate and reliable records of lab equipment is important to protect valuable investments. Laboratory monitoring solutions that provide real-time records of conditions for samples, reagents, and other valuable assets in an organised database ensure that organisations can quickly prove compliance with regulatory agencies.