Tinytag temperature loggers provide effective vaccine fridge monitoring

Tinytag temperature loggers are being used to provide essential temperature monitoring for vaccine fridges and pharmaceutical warehouses.

Essential vaccine monitoring is provided by Tinytag temperature data loggers recording in walk in fridges, and also in cold storage warehouses to ensure the correct conditions are maintained for pharmaceutical products. Data analysis can alert staff to any fluctuations outside the recommended temperature range and help compliance with MHRA Regulations.

Tinytag temperature data loggers monitor vaccine fridges and pharmaceutical warehouses

Everyone working within the pharmaceutical supply chain knows the importance of maintaining correct ambient temperatures surrounding the drugs they handle, following the recent issue of the Rapid Response Report by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).

A simple device called a temperature data logger monitors ambient temperature and humidity, providing an easy data download option, so that temperature records can be kept over a period of time. Gemini Data Loggers manufactures Tinytags, a range of temperature data loggers which have been used extensively throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Most pharmaceutical companies are very familiar with the practices needed to comply with the Medicines and Healthcare Produces Regulatory Agency (MHRA); these are driven by the high cost of a product recall, the possible destruction of affected products and, ultimately, the health risk to patients. Failure to regulate temperature in the supply chain correctly can cost the distributor in a number of ways, and can lead to loss of confidence in their services on the part of manufacturers, the MHRA and pharmacists.

There is also a human element to storing and handling drugs and that human element is not infallible, so many companies use data loggers for the peace of mind that they offer. They automatically monitor the temperature surrounding those drugs and alert staff to any fluctuations outside the recommended temperature range. Data loggers reliably monitor temperatures over periods of time and provide the historic data needed to prove that temperatures remained constant. If, however, the temperature did slip out of range - for example, if a fridge door was left ajar - the data logger would alert the responsible person who can then download the data to see the fluctuation in temperature and make a decision on what should happen to the pharmaceuticals or vaccines stored there.

Alliance Healthcare (Distribution) Ltd, a pharmaceutical wholesaler (formerly UniChem), uses Tinytag data loggers to help maintain a constant temperature within their walk-in fridges in its many service centres around the UK. Exeter, a typical service centre, has large walk-in fridges where important vaccines are kept and the loggers are used to help maintain a constant temperature within the fridges.

Data loggers are positioned within the walk-in fridges and then a responsible person downloads the data from each logger to identify any fluctuations and what may have contributed to them. In addition, the data loggers are used within the warehouse itself to prove that the recommended range of between 15-25° C has been maintained. MHRA statistics show that increases in temperature above 25°C (attributed to recent hotter summers and the efficient insulation of modern warehouse buildings) have been the single biggest issue for those responsible for the storage of pharmaceutical products for the past five years.

At Alliance Healthcare's Exeter Service Centre, they download the temperature recordings from their data loggers, daily, using Tinytag Explorer software. This enables staff to compare temperatures on different dates. It is very easy to download the data from a data logger and requires just a few simple steps. The download can be made in a table or graph format and exported to Excel for further analysis.

The service centre also carries out temperature mapping, whereby multiple loggers are placed around a building and set to record over a period of time. This data is then downloaded and is used to report on the thermal characteristics of the building. It can also be used to identify temperature 'hotspots' in the walk-in fridges and/or within the building; for example, hotspots can occur near doorways that are opened and closed at change of shift. Staff can then take measures to control the temperature much more effectively. A similar pattern of routine activity is undertaken by Alliance Healthcare's Swansea and other Service Centres.

The MHRA's Orange Guide makes it clear that distributors must comply with the regulations or face penalties if their facilities fall behind the required standard. Using temperature data loggers is an easy and positive action to take, helping to promote a sense of awareness within every person who handles drugs in the pharmaceutical chain.

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