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  • Poor Vaccine Storage Practices: Alarming Statistics

    HHS: Poor Vaccine Storage Practices Expose Vaccines to Elevated Temperatures



    HHS study of CDC’s Vaccines For Children Program shows 76% had problems.

    When parents bring their children to the doctor’s office for vaccinations, they expect the treatment will protect them from the target diseases.  A 2012 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s (HHS) Inspector General’s office shows that this may not be the case.  (Link to HHS Report)

    The HHS studied the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Vaccines For Children (VFC) program.  The proactive program provides free vaccinations to eligible children.  In 2010 the $3.6 billion program served approximately 40 million children, distributing 82 million vaccine doses.  VFC providers must meet certain requirements such as monitoring storagetemperatures and expiration dates to insure the vaccines are able to provide the desired protection against preventable diseases.

    HHS used CDC data to audit 45 VFC providers, those that ordered a large number of vaccines in 2010.  Site visits were used to interview personnel who coordinated the program at the medical practice location, and to observe vaccinemanagement practices over a two week period.  The results showed a significant shortfall in compliance.  Compliance categories specified by the program’s operation guide are as follows.

    1. Vaccine Storage Equipment
    2. Vaccine Storage Practices
    3. Temperature Monitoring
    4. Vaccine Storage and Handling Plans
    5. Vaccine Personnel
    6. Vaccine Waste
    7. Vaccine Security and Equipment Maintenance
    8. Vaccine Ordering and Inventory Management
    9. Receiving Vaccine Shipments
    10. Vaccine Preparation

    The HHS report found that VFC vaccines stored by 76 percent of 45 providers were exposed to inappropriate temperatures.  The authors note, “Although the majority of storage temperatures we independently measured during a 2-week period were within the required ranges, VFC vaccines stored by 76 percent—34 of 45—of the selected providers were exposed to inappropriate temperatures for at least 5 cumulative hours during that period.”

    Most significantly, the authors found, “Sixteen of the thirty-four providers had both freezers and refrigerators that exposed VFC vaccines to temperatures outside the required ranges for 5 or more hours during the 2-week period. If the 34 providers’ freezer and refrigerator temperatures followed this same pattern for a year, these storage units could expose vaccines to inappropriate temperatures for at least 130 hours over 1 year.  On the days of our site visits, the 34 providers had 9,173 VFC vaccine doses, worth approximately $368,820.”  That is a significant number and while it does not mean that the vaccines were necessarily compromised, could lead to that conclusion and the need to revaccinate those receiving the doses.  Parents who deal with children receiving injections can understand how this may not be news that is well received.

    The report also notes, “Specifically, vaccines must be stored within the required temperature ranges from the time they are shipped from the manufacturer until they are administered by the provider.  Providers must monitor all vaccine storage temperatures using a certified, calibrated thermometer to ensure that vaccines are not exposed to temperatures outside the required ranges.  Additionally, to obtain a temperature reading that is representative of the storage unit, a thermometer must be placed in a central area inside each freezer and refrigerator used to store VFC vaccines.”

    Using automatic temperature monitoring equipment to read and automatically record the temperatures on a daily or hourly basis can help vaccine and other medication providers establish conformity with compliance, but also helps to ensure optimum potency for provisioned doses.  A device that can send email, SMS text or voice phone message alerts will help maintain the required control during hours of operation, but also during weekends and late hours when power outages may occur. In the end, a device that uses a cloud computing platform for data collection, sends alerts on user-defined limits, and stores the data in a format readily used for regulatory reporting is the ideal monitoring choice for vaccine storage purposes.


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  • Temperature@lert Named as Finalist in 2013 American Business Awards

    TEMPERATURE@LERT NAMED AS FINALIST IN 2013 AMERICAN BUSINESS AWARDS


    The 11th annual Stevie® Awards will be presented on June 17 in Chicago and September 16 in San Francisco.

    Boston, MA – May 9, 2013 – Temperature@lert, a leading provider of real-time, cloud-based environmental monitoringsolutions designed to enable businesses to mitigate temperature-related disasters, was named a Finalist today in the New Product or Service of the Year – Software category in The 2013 American Business Awards for their Sensor Cloud service. Temperature@lert will ultimately be a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Stevie® Award winner in the program.

     

    Sensor Cloud is a web-based Software-as-a-Service product for monitoring the environmental conditions of server rooms, bio-pharma vaccine storages, and commercial refrigerators while providing regulatory compliance data logging and alerting for various environmental sensors such as temperature, humidity, water, and more. The fault-tolerant design helps ensure that sensor data is logged and maintained for years, while the website and free iPhone/Android apps enable access to sensor readings and the ability to edit phone calls, emails, and SMS alerts from anywhere.

     

    Temperature@lert’s Cellular Products have previously won several awards, including a Stevie Gold Award for their Solar Cellular Edition in 2012. However, it is Temperature@lert’s Sensor Cloud that serves as the brains of all Cellular Editions with over thousands of devices deployed and running the service. Temperature@lert's WIFI and USB devices can also be connected to Sensor Cloud for a consolidated view of all sensor readings and alert statuses. Temperature@lert’s mission is to create a cost-effective and fault-tolerant system that will allow any user to monitor their assets at any moment, anywhere.

     

    The American Business Awards are the nation’s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. 

     

    The American Business Awards will be presented at two awards events: the ABA's traditional banquet on Monday, June 17 – in Chicago for the first time, after 10 years in New York; and the new product & technology awards event on Monday, September 16 in San Francisco.

     

    More than 3,200 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, including Most Innovative Company of the Year, Management Team of the Year, Best New Product or Service of the Year, Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year, and Executive of the Year, among others.  Temperature@lert is nominated in the New Product or Service of the Year – Software category for their Sensor Cloud service.

     

    “Temperature@lert’s Sensor Cloud service directly addresses every industry’s monitoring needs ranging from server rooms, to farms, to medical storage, and even to commercial food transportation operations. We are deeply honored to be recognized as a finalist for our Sensor Cloud service by the American Business Awards,” said Harry Schechter, CEO/President of Temperature@lert. “This honor only further validates the need for remote temperature monitoringbecause everyone should be able to easily prevent temperature related disasters, regardless of type of industry or size of company. We believe in giving you a solution before you even have a problem.”

     

    Finalists were chosen by more than 140 business professionals nationwide during preliminary judging in April and May.  More than 150 members of nine specialized judging committees will determine Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists during final judging, to take place May 13 - 24.  

     

    Details about The American Business Awards and the list of Finalists in all categories are available at www.StevieAwards.com/ABA.   

     


    About Temperature@lert

    Temperature@lert’s temperature and environmental monitoring solutions provide both real-time and historic views of a location’s temperature and other critical parameters through alerts and cloud-based graphs, data logs and reports. This information allows customers to immediately react to potentially disastrous temperature or other fluctuations in critical environments, as well as provide temperature consistency for regulatory and internal process control requirements. Temperature@lert has more than 40,000 devices installed in over 50 countries around the globe. For more information, please visit www.temperaturealert.com.

     

    About the Stevie Awards

    Stevie Awards are conferred in four programs: The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  A fifth program, the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, will debut this year.  Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide.  Learn more about the Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.

     

    Sponsors and partners of The 2013 American Business Awards include the Business TalkRadio Network, Callidus Software, Citrix Online, Dynamic Research Corporation, Experian, John Hancock Funds, LifeLock, PetRays, and SoftPro.

     

    ###

     

    Contact:

    Diane Deng

    Temperature@lert

    866-524-3540 x506


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  • Is Your Food Ripe for Bacterial Growth?

    Refrigerators, freezers, steam tables, and food prep areas are all known sources of bacterial growth when proper temperatures are not maintained. Of course there are paper logs and thermometers that you can place in these areas, but what happens when that person who is supposed to be monitoring is absent, or if the thermometer malfunctions? Who ismonitoring the system for monitoring?

    When a temperature monitoring system is not fault tolerant, this leaves food and beverages dependent on proper temperature storage extremely vulnerable for bacterial growth. Cooking food at the proper temperature is not the only determinant for killing bacteria. Even after food is cooked for prep, they are stored in a food prep area such assteam trays that must be maintained at 150°F in order to prevent bacterial growth. Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria are some of the bacteria that can grow when cooked food drops below 135°F.

    For cold food storage, the maximum temperature is 41°F. Anything above this can cause bacteria growth. Failure to store food within temperature thresholds is a critical health violation found in many restaurants, cafeterias, and other areas for food service when proper temperature monitoring procedures are not followed.

    Although temperature monitoring is frequently overlooked, we cannot overlook the effects caused by lack of monitoring.Besides spoilage and contamination, there are the health effects such as gastrointestinal symptoms, vomiting, GI issues, and diarrhea. A single strand of bacterium can cause such stomach upset, due to the fact that no one is monitoring the monitoring system. This is when a fault-tolerant system comes in handy!

    Fault-tolerant systems would be able to alert you of temperature issues before one arises. Not to mention, it would alleviate the pressure of frequently checking temperatures when one does not have the timeLearn more about proper food storage from our FREE Cheat Sheet in Food Service Monitoring!

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  • Can BioPharma Quality Assurance Specialists Do It All?

    When we imagine the biopharma industry as a whole, we tend to hover over the same key phrases: innovation, growth, discovery, etc. But in fact, with a few exceptions, the biopharma industry growth has gone sluggish in many states, and has grown in very few. 

    Citing recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and a well-designed report from the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council(MassBio), of the 15 “leading” biopharma manufacturing states, only 5 states have increased employment. As a whole,industry employment has declined by 7.9% since 2002Though these numbers are concerning, Massachusetts seems to be one extraordinary exception to the rule. By state, Massachusetts is twice as dense (as other states) in terms of biotechnology research, development, and employment. Ironically, Massachusetts was the source of the recent Meningitis outbreak. 

    But this hasn't been the only mistake/outbreak of 2012. We can do a news search for past events, but more importantly, where is the proof that lessons have been learned? How can we tell if the mistakes of 2012 will happen again? At a high level, looking at data from the last 3 years, we're headed in the right direction in terms of hiring. 

    Diving deeper, is there evidence that biopharma and biotech companies are proactive?  Is quality control and best practices in vaccine storage a pressing concern of theirs, and what have they done to address it? 

     

    Screenshot (9) resized 600

     

    The answer, in short statistical form, is yes. The institution of best practices and safety guidelines is a hot button issue for the biotechnology and biopharma industry. In fact, “Quality Assurance” and “Quality Control” job listings have been on asteady rise since 2008. Job listings from MassBio.org show over an 80% increase for these specialized positions since then. Other positions have increased by up to 30%, but in contrast to quality assurance and control; we can see clear-cut dedication. The employment spike shows a true and proactive HR response to the rising concerns of vaccine storage and handling

    Still members of the biopharma industry must follow all best practice guidelines outlined by the CDC, and the push to hire “quality assurance specialists” is not a complete solution to the problem. Science fiction movies often illustrate the extreme horrors of vaccine mishandling and disease outbreaks that are caused by human error and/or relaxed security procedures. Despite the extremity of situational presentation in these films there really is an unspoken truth behind them. We cannot solely rely on capable employees. The rise in hiring for quality assurance and control positions is a promising sign, but there must be adequate technology to supplement the increase in manpower. Temperature monitoring is a good example, since employees must ensure that specific vaccines are stored at preset temperatures. However, truth is, no matter how many employees a company has, small changes in temperature must be monitored by certified and accurate technologies.  

    What we can learn from these various statistics is that proactive deterrence (a theme we’ve been tossing around quite a bit in other industries), is a multi-faceted animal. While individual states may show evidence of “employment growth” and perhaps an uptick in manpower related to quality assurance; vaccines and medicine require more than just a brain and body.

    Temperature monitors are ‘by-the-book’ devices that need to be used alongside competent employees. And in truth, all biotech and biopharma companies should have fault tolerant monitoring technology and quality assurance hardware. Institution of simple technologies such as buffer vials (for temperature sensors), will help decrease confusion and increase measurement accuracy for sensitive applications. The buffers provide a 'shield' around the sensor, preventing momentary temperature changes from an opened refrigerator door that can skew data or trigger false temperature alerts.

    New employees will appreciate the availability of helpful (and simple) technology, which is important to establish safe handling practices that have become standardized and remain consistent within the various industries. Hopefully, the investment has gone both ways, and this recent rise in specialized positions is piggy-backed by a push for 'battle-hardened' temperature monitoring systems. In preparation for 2013, we want to direct you towards a list of guidelines that must be followed as per the CDC for vaccine storage and handling. As the CDC shows, responsible quality assurance employees and reliable monitoring technology truly go hand-in-vial.

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  • Harry Schechter, CEO of Temperature@lert, on Presenting at GLOBALCON

    Last week, Harry Schechter spoke at GLOBALCON on March 7th, 2012 in Atlantic City on "Fault Tolerant Environmental Monitoring Systems Employing WiFi and Cellular Technology in Combination with Cloud Based Logging and Alert Services". This conference's focus was on those involved in the energy field in regards to new technology and strategies.


    From WiFi devices to Cellular devices, Harry explained how it was important to baseline your device for efficient monitoring. After all, one should understand the environment they're monitoring because each room has their own micro-climate. There's a typical behavior pattern that occurs within each of these micro-climates and by baselining one can determine the proper range for their monitoring purposes.


    By integrating your Temperature@lert device with Sensor Cloud, this opens up a door to even more possibilities with monitoring. Sensor Cloud allows the user to be able to monitor remotely. There is also a display map that shows current conditions for all your various devices in varied locations. This is especially useful for those who monitor all over the country. Not to mention the apps for Android and iPhone are available for free download and allows you to monitor from your smart phone.


    Temperature@lert provides cost effective, remote temperature sensing. This is all possible with digital sensors combined with WiFi and Cellular data communication. These systems are dependent on robust power and communication infrastructure. Cloud based data logging and alerting algorithms provide bring fault tolerant security to small and mid sized businesses and individual homeowners.


    Harry thoroughly enjoyed speaking at GLOBALCON and looks forward to spreading the message on the importance of environmental monitoring. If you would like to learn more about this subject, including case studies, please check out our e-book: http://www.temperaturealert.com/Remote-Temperature/Sensor-Cloud-e-Book.aspx



    For more information on the topics presented at the conference: http://www.globalconevent.com/program/2012globalconprogram.html

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  • From Cryogenics to BBQ Smokers: Expanded Range Temperature Sensor Launches Today

    What do cryogenic freezers, solar thermal collection systems, BBQ smokers, and astronaut ice cream makers all have in common? 


    They all require temperature monitoring in extreme temperature ranges. With today's release of our Expanded Range Temperature Sensor, this accessory is an excellent addition to either the Cellular, Wifi, or Solar Editions. 


    The probe measures between -200°C to +600°C. This opens the doors of possibility to monitoring critical temperature ranges for everything from biopharmaceuticals to the perfect rack of BBQ ribs. 


    For more information and photos, please review our press release:

    Temperature@lert Releases Expanded Range Temperature Sensor



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  • New Temperature@lert Whitepaper: Considerations for Fault Tolerant Environmental Monitoring Strategies

    Ever wonder what happens if there's a problem with your network and your environmental monitoring system can't let you know there's a problem?  Although network reliability has improved significantly over time, problems do occur.  Power outages due to storms or unplanned breaker trips pop up from time to time.  And when they do, sensitive materials, equipment and products are at risk.  Our latest Whitepaper discusses using a Sensor Cloud strategy to provide security even when power and network outages occur.  Read the latest in the Resource section where this and other Whitepapers are found, or to get there more quickly, click on this link:  Link to Whitepaper Page

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