Automated Temp Monitoring

Temperature monitoring of refrigerators, freezers, and warmers is vital to ensure patient safety, as well as to remain compliant with medication management standards and reduce potentially costly product loss. As our region continues to grow it’s geographic footprint and square footage, the complexity of temperature management for our medication fridges/freezers also multiplies. Technology can aid in awareness, but it still doesn’t create a perfect system.

In our constant quest to elevate patient safety and outcomes, we recognized there are tools available to help us work smarter, not necessarily harder, to achieve more successes.  In my organization, we rolled out a product last year and we’re still working on the process.  This is where we need your help.


Below is a diagram from the vendor’s website of how their product is designed to function.  As you can see, even when the technology functions with 100% reliability, it still requires human intervention.  In our case, we want the alerts firing at multiple levels across the organization.  We need someone closest to the fridge to make a human assessment and execute the appropriate change to resolve the matter.  We have Pharmacy leaders at a higher level that monitor all 85+ devices across the region to ensure timely action by all.  Some of the challenges occur after hours when we’re relying on front-line staff to receive the alert at home and the Pharmacy leader to receive every alert, all of the time.  There are also alerts firing for “signal not found” which could mean anything from the power is out completely to the Wi-Fi wasn’t detected for a moment.  These scenarios create a regular occurrence of false alarms and thus alarm fatigue.

How should we align our resources, processes and tools to effectively manage the automation we’ve implemented with the expectation of simplifying it all?  We have not found that to be the case, and still have excursions of significant amounts due to extenuating circumstances.




Data as Currency: AI. Development of a Data Science Institute in an Institution NOT connected to an academic university

Participant comments on Automated Temp Monitoring

  1. The dreaded temperature monitoring. This was killing us in terms of being compliant with DNV. Our institution continuously had non-conformities in this area. Three years ago we changed to centralized monitoring. We were also concerned with front end staff ignoring the alerts. To tackle the issue, we elected to utilize our plant operations team. The centralized monitoring is located in a secure area within plant operations. Since we need to have someone from plant ops on location 24/7, any temp out of range is alerted both to centralized monitors as well as the cell phone the person carries. Majority of the time it is a faulty alarm and can be reset from the centralized monitors. However, if the alert is true, each department has their manager that is on-call and will be alerted by the plant operations member. For the last three years, we have had no write ups from DNV and no incidents have occurred. Good luck!

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