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How blood sciences team gained 24/7 confidence with Checkit monitoring

Overview

When the Blood Sciences department at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust needed end-to-end temperature monitoring, Checkit delivered a powerful solution with multiple advantages.

The Blood Sciences Department at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest in the UK, based over two university teaching hospitals sites and processing over 10,000 samples daily from GPs, outpatient clinics, hospital wards and other pathology laboratories.

This demanding environment requires sophisticated analytical equipment, reagents and consumables, all of which must be kept within strict temperature limits to ensure test accuracy. In addition, the department also stores a lot of patient samples both pre and post-analysis, requiring 24/7 monitoring of fridges, freezers and storage modules to maintain their integrity.

Following a service improvement suggestion and scoping exercise, Checkit was installed within the laboratories on both sites.

 

The challenge

Manual checking routines placed a burden on scientists

Prior to using Checkit, the Blood Sciences Department took a ‘snapshot’ approach to temperature monitoring.

Support workers took daily manual readings using digital thermometers spread across multiple temperature-controlled areas.

Any readings outside acceptable ranges were reported to biomedical scientist colleagues for investigation and action.

The problems with this method were clear. It was labour-intensive, particularly for the staff having to abandon their routines to perform checks and re-checks. Non-continuous monitoring and a lack of graphical data made trends hard to identify, so it was difficult to act before breaches occurred. What’s more, it was difficult for the management team to review the actions taken, as records were not stored centrally.

The critical nature of the work undertaken in Blood Sciences demanded a very clear set of requirements from any automated monitoring solution. 

The team needed automated data collection and alerts on a 24/7 basis, with fully traceable measurements from a network of highly reliable sensors.

They also recognised the need for user-friendly software, with web-based monitoring of all locations on a single dashboard.  It was agreed that a prompting system would help ensure consistent recording of actions taken.

Trend analysis was also key. The selected system would need to deliver easy-to-read visual data for rapid identification of any issues, as well as secure data storage.

"The Checkit system assisted in helping our department ensure that the reagents and patient samples that we analyse are accurately temperature monitored at all times. It’s now also possible for any member of our team to monitor all laboratory storage areas and devices at any time, at a glance, and from any location. This level of control is vital in ensuring we’re able to provide the best possible service to patients and the clinical teams who care for them."

Richard Liversidge Blood Sciences Service Lead
The Solution

Protecting patient samples, reagents and consumables with always-on vigilance

Checkit as selected as the preferred solution due to the breadth of its capabilities.

“We reviewed various commercially available electronic monitoring systems and had meetings with a range of suppliers. We chose Checkit because they were able to deliver on all of our key requirements," said Richard Liversidge, Blood Sciences Service Lead.

The implementation of automated monitoring from Checkit helps ensure patient samples, reagents and consumables are stored within strict temperature limits, providing reassurance over the consistency and quality of patient test results.

Sensors placed in transport bags also enable continuous measurements while samples are in transit. As a result, staff can be assured that sample integrity is preserved even before the samples are within their direct control.

Robust battery life and data buffering mean that even in the event of a hardware failure or internet connection issues, there is no loss of data, which can be reliably downloaded once the issue is resolved. 

“We are able to anticipate potential failures of fridges and freezers by reviewing temperature trends using the Checkit software, meaning we don’t lose expensive stock in the event of a rare device failure and have the option to transfer items in this scenario," said Richard.

Sensors are supplied with an ISO17025 traceable calibration that has been performed in an external UKAS-accredited calibration laboratory.

This provides assurance to the lab and its users that the data measurements obtained are accurate. The calibration boosts confidence in the use of the data to inform critical decisions, letting the department demonstrate to its accreditation body that all measurements are fully traceable to an international standard.

The entire process happens with minimal user intervention. Checkit engineers set up the system, expand the network with new sensors when needed, and handle their annual recalibration.

 

 

The Outcome

More confidence, less paperwork

A total of 35 separate locations in Blood Sciences were initially monitored with Checkit and this was quickly expanded with the addition of another 14 within the R&D section.

The new system has saved staff time, which has been re-utilised in other areas. Staff have more control and the need for paperwork has been greatly reduced.

Checkit has also provided increased confidence in the accuracy of test results, which are vital to patient diagnosis and management.

“We are able to anticipate potential failures of fridges and freezers by reviewing temperature trends using the Checkit software, meaning we don’t lose expensive stock in the event of a rare device failure and have the option to transfer items in this scenario," said Richard.

  • Records are automatically created, timestamped and stored securely online.
  • Checkit provides alerts when checks are due
  • There is unbroken cold chain data because readings are always taken – even during power cuts
  • Staff trained in minutes because of Checkit's user-friendly interface.

 

 

 

Following the successful rollout of Checkit, other areas within Pathology are now adopting the system.

The Memo, Checkit's handheld device, allows remote interaction with the platform, enabling users to monitor alerts and review actions taken wherever they are.

Using this functionality the department is looking to apply the system to monitor cross-site sample transfer and standardise departmental audit, maintenance and housekeeping activities, with significant reductions in paperwork.

“We’ve been able to remove the requirement to store and archive paper-based temperature monitoring records and can now refer back to historical records quickly and easily without the need to sort through archives. This saves considerable time for senior staff performing investigations and audits as part of their routine duties," said Daniel Carless, Quality Manager.

 

"We chose Checkit because they were able to deliver on all of our key requirements.”

Richard Liversidge Blood Sciences Service Lead

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