With manual medical temperature monitoring it’s not possible to determine how long stock has been exposed to the out of specification temperature. So, the only safe option is to bin the stock. Every fridge may have its own thermostat, yet these are not reliable or independent. And busy medical 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 automation of your temperature monitoring? How do you get buy in from colleagues and budgetary sign off?
Take a moment to audit your current systems. Consider the staffing and processes currently in place, where there is room for improvement and what you need to do to meet or exceed regulatory compliance? Importantly, consider what you need to do to confidently demonstrate compliance and so maintain your patients’ trust.
Consider putting together some simple figures, where you evaluate the cost of staff time, and the potential level of risk to loss of 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 automation.
With manual systems it’s not possible to determine how long the stock was exposed to the out of spec temperature. So, the only safe option is to bin the stock – an added, preventable cost. 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.
Gaining budgetary sign off, particularly in a healthcare setting can be a complicated and dauting task. Thankfully Tutela Monitoring and Mapping 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 then justify the expenditure against the savings, in terms of staff time and stock protected.
With an automated 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 timely action is needed. And when your name is attached to that call and incident report then you have a responsibility to act immediately.
You will more than likely 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. 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.
Consider what your provider is offering in terms of of the installation, training, setup and monitoring for you. For example, Tutela 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.