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  • TJC MM.05.01.01 Standards Drive Medication Refrigeration Monitoring


    First in a series regarding medication storage temperature monitoring: MOTIVATION


    A recent article on the Pharmacy Purchasing and Products website titled Implementing a Facility Wide WTM System offered some useful suggestions regarding evaluating the need for and implementing a WTM (Wireless Temperature Monitoring) System to assist with proper refrigeration of medicines as well as The Joint Commission (TJC) medication management compliance. (Link to TJC Medication Document)

    According to the article, it can be challenging to ensure medications are continuously stored at the proper temperature when utilizing a manual process. Implementing a wireless temperature-monitoring (WTM) system ensures that medications are stored properly, and can prevent the loss of expensive medications should a refrigerator or freezer go out of range. (Link to PPP Article)

    Full disclosure: The piece offers a list of Where to Find Wireless Temperature Monitoring Systems. This writer is employed by one such supplier that is not on the list, Temperature@lert. There are many more good suppliers to choose from other than those on the list so the reader is invited to perform her/his own search for options.


    Temperature@lert ZPoint Wireless Sensor Temperature@lert ZPoint Cellular Edition
    Temperature@lert ZPoint Wireless Network Sensor Module & Cellular Base Unit


    There are several factors to consider when healthcare sites store temperature sensitive medications to insure product efficacy and safety including maintaining the medications at the proper storage temperature range based on manufacturer’s information. Manufacturers go to great lengths to test their products within recommended ranges. Hospitals, medical offices, clinics and pharmacies are expected to comply to the recommendations to insure the products are safe to administer and to insure that the dosage is not compromised by loss due to overheating or excessive cooling or freezing. One organization behind setting recommended temperature ranges for medications is The Joint Commission (TJC).

    The Joint Commission website defines TJC as, An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.

    TJC Logo and Gold Seal of Approval

    TJC Logo and Gold Seal of Approval (Source: TJC Website. Link Above)


    To emphasize their role in helping assure safe and quality healthcare is maintained in the US, TJC offers its Mission and Vision Statements as follows:


    Our Mission: To continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.

    Vision Statement: All people always experience the safest, highest quality, best-value health care across all settings. (Link to TJC Website)


    While these statements may seem lofty, most acknowledge standards and accreditation are critical to delivering and maintaining quality, safe healthcare to citizens not only in the US but elsewhere.

    This series will examine in detail The Joint Commission’s standards and guidelines as well as technical and practical information regarding temperature sensitive medicines storage best practices, monitoring technologies, and implementation strategies that include both wireless and wired solutions to provide a complete picture of options available and associated costs and benefits.

    TJC image describing the integration of the organization’s three branches
    Left: TJC image describing the integration of the organization’s three branches (blue ring) to address all aspects of healthcare safety and quality as well as accreditation.(Link to Source: TJC Website)

    Temperature@ert’s WiFi, Cellular and ZPoint product offerings linked to the company’s Sensor Cloud platform provides a cost effective solution for organizations of all sizes. The products and services can help bring a laboratory or medical practice into compliance with minimum training or effort. For information about Temperature@lert’s Cellular and SensorCloud offerings, visit our website at http://www.temperaturealert.com/ or call us at +1-866-524-3540.

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  • The Maturation of Good Manufacturing Practices

    When manufacturing, handling, or selling bio-pharma or medical products, it’s critical for a biotech or pharmaceutical business to operate in a manner that adheres to the government’s Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulatory requirements. Below are some historically important points from the evolutionary timeline of this federally constructed and imposed standard.


    - Upton Sinclair’s muckraking novel The Jungle inspires Congress to pass the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906—the fundamentals of CGMP derive from this piece of legislation.


    - After the Messengill sulfanilamide tragedy of the 1930s, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 requires drug companies to confirm that products are safe for consumers, bolstering the original law.


    Frances Oldham Kelsey of the FDA withholds thalidomide from the U.S. market, protecting pregnant women’s nervous system from the horrific effects of the ineffective painkiller.


    - The initial GMP guidelines, requiring that drugs be proven as safe and effective, pass as drug law amendments in 1962.

    - Subsequent laws of the 1960s and 1970s address issues like data documentation, packaging and labeling, and tampering.


    Temperature@lert Blog: The Maturation of Good Manufacturing Practices

    Drug manufacturing has changed dramatically since the dawn of the 20th century.

    These days, CGMP, through the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and FDA enforcement, require that pharmaceutical companies utilize and employ the latest technologies and processes and training standards. These generally include, but are not limited to, the following:

    - Maintenance, calibration and validation of equipment

    - Condition of facilities

    - Qualifications and training of employees

    - Reliability and reproducibility of processes

    - Test method validation

    - Handling of complaints

    In addition, Biotech and pharmaceutical firms should pay particular attention to section 21 of the CFR. Violations, especially egregious ones, may lead to criminal penalties. Included sections deal with the manufacturing, processing, packing, and holding of drugs, the practices required for finished pharmaceuticals, biological products, and guidelines for electronic records and signatures.

    Elements of these CFR sections can be applied to such bio-pharma sectors as vaccines, prescription pills, and medicated creams. Deeper analysis and an understanding of such products and their sector-specific regulatory challenges can provide firms with the knowledge needed to take proactive, risk-reducing steps. Such steps, like purchasing an automated temperature monitoring device and recording service can mean the difference between good manufacturing practices and noncompliant ones.

    Next week we’ll continue our survey of CGMP with a good look at vaccines and their applicable CFR guidelines.

    Temperature@lert Free Monitoring Guide for Vaccines 

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  • HACCP Inspections: Active Managerial Control

    The FDA’s stance on Active Managerial Control

    More now than ever, the active communities of review and ranking sites have provided a clearer window into restaurants and food establishments, and needless to say, this transparency and honest feedback is invaluable to owners and consumers alike. With that said, restaurant owners and operators are also tightening their in-house food safety practices to prevent spoilage and bacterial infestation. In the larger picture, these practices reflect well on the operational capability of the establishment, and also serve to prevent the stigmata of food inspection violations. 

    The FDA has long published documentation on prevention and adherence to the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) preventative approach for food service. Still, many restaurant owners and operators are unaware or unfamiliar with these practices and suggestions, and to this day, health inspectors are suspending licenses and punishing these businesses for failing to comply. While reviews and consumer feedback are invaluable to the welfare of a restaurant or food establishments, these inspections are not to be overlooked or ignored. The following explication of active managerial control serves to inform you about the basics of HACCP, and what you should expect from a visit with the health inspector.

    Temperature@lert HACCP Food Safety Monitoring

    One of the primary objectives of a health inspector is to observe the level of active managerial control, or as the FDA defines “the purposeful incorporation of specific actions or procedures by industry management into the operation of their business to attain control over foodborne illness risk factors.” In short, such actions and procedures are a preventative and proactive approach to food safety, as opposed to reactive post-disaster tactics. Following this approach is critical for any food establishment or restaurant to ensure best practices in the kitchen. The above statement specifically cites foodborne illness risk factors, of which are outlined below.

    • - Food from Unsafe Sources (farms, meatpacking plants, etc)
    • - Inadequate Cooking (to subpar temperatures)
    • - Improper Holding Temperatures
    • - Contaminated Equipment (bacteria, mold, dust, etc.)
    • - Poor Personal Hygiene (for line cooks, chefs, and prep personnel)

    The health inspector will be focusing on these five points of failure as they represent the most sensitive areas for food safety and food consumer protection. There are a number of tactics that can be used to avoid these risk factors, and while some dwell in the neighborhood of common sense, others are not so obvious. The following food safety management tips are taken directly from the Regulator’s Manual for Applying HACCP Principles to Risk-based Retail and Food Service Inspections. Consider this a quick ‘cheatsheet’ for your next inspection, and be sure to employ as many of these smaller strategies to conquer the larger goal of safe food practices. These represent FDA-approved guidelines for HACCP compliance.

    • - Standard Operating Procedures for critical operational steps in a food preparation process. This includes cooling, heating, reheating, and holding.
    • - Recipe Cards or ‘cheatsheets’ that contain specifics steps for individual item preparation. This should include important boundaries such as final cooking temperature, verification, and directives for temporary storage.
    • - Monitoring procedures for preventing bacterial growth, spoilage, and proper cooking/holding temperatures.
    • - Record keeping. These include temperature records, employee records, and equipment maintenance and upkeep documentation.
    • - Health policy for restricting ill employees from the establishment.
    • - Specific goal-oriented plans, such as Risk Control Plans (RCPs) that are used to control specific and more incremental risk factors.

    In the next piece, we’ll dive further into these incremental risk factors and RCPs that can easily be employed in your restaurant or food establishment. Remember that while the world of online reviews can boost your consumer reputation, the food safety management suggestions from above are equally as important for the long-term livelihood of your business.

    Temperature@lert HACCP Food Safety Monitoring

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  • Are Disposable BioPharmaceutical Factories the Model of the Future?



    GE reportedly building disposable drug factory for China site.


    Disposable diapers, disposable syringes, disposable cameras, contact lenses, cell phones, food containers, cups, plates, cutlery, razors, (paper) towels, mops, batteries, water bottles, lighters, rocket boosters; the list seems endless. Some of these items are understandable, such as rocket boosters, many can be replaced by reusable items, refillable water bottles and rechargeable batteries for example.  Some are for convenience and possibly excusable at times, disposable eating items at an impromptu gathering for example.  Some such as disposable syringes are chosen because they reduce company liability in addition to other benefits.  Some are desirable, disposable income jumps to the top of the list.  But what does it mean to build a disposable factory?

    According to the website BioPharmaReporter.com manufacturing giant General Electric is planning to build just such a project for JHL Biotech to be located at a site in China. (Link to Source)  What is this about and why disposable?

    Introduced in late 2012, GE’s Healthcare announced KUBio™, a 1200m2 pre-fabricated modular facility “delivered with a complete ready-to-use production line, based on GE Healthcare’s Ready-to-Process™ single-use technologies.” (Link to Source)  The company’s website shows design images of the plant with its Spartan exterior and an interior dedicated to cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices) manufacturing.  The company boasts using the off-the-shelf design as a way manufacturers can bring manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals such as antibodies on line quickly, in 14 to 18 months including planning, delivery and construction.  This compares to the traditional 24 to 36 months for traditional designs, and speeds time to market at a lower capital cost according to GE.

    GE Healthcare's KUBio  (Graphic: Business Wire)GE Healthcare's KUBio  (Graphic: Business Wire) 

    Exterior and Modular Interior of GE’s KUBio Single Purpose BioPharmaceutical Factory (Link to Source)

    GE will pre-build the plant’s modules in Germany under cGMP specifications and deliver it to JHL’s site in the Biolake Science Park in central China’s most populous city, Wuhan. 

    GE KUBio 01GE KUBio 01

     

    Left: Wuhan Biolake Industrial Park (Link to Source), Right: Interior of KUBio Module (Link to Source)

    The modular trend is not new.  Aside from modular offices used at construction sites and modular classrooms for schools, other industries have adopted the trend.  Most recently modular data centers have garnered much press.  Preloaded server and facility modules can be delivered and interconnected quickly to shorten time to market.  Some data centers these days look like cargo transport containers stacked in desert or remote locations so long as high speed telecommunication lines and electricity are available.  Back in the BioPharmaceutical world, German based Sartorius has been promoting its disposable reactor designs that, while not a complete turnkey facility, provides a ready to use production capability comes ready for six distinct processes. (Link to Source)

    imageimage

    Left: Sartorius FlexAct® CH disposable cell harvesting Biopharmaceutical processing modules (Link to Source ); Right: Microsoft’s Preassembled Components Module contain air handling and IT components (servers, etc.) ready to plug into Data Center facilities. (Link to Source)

    One question remains.  How cost effective are modular BioPharmaceutical factories in the long run?  Because they are single purpose, when the material manufactured at the plant is no longer needed, is the factory truly disposable.  If yes, what does that do to the cost of acquisition and site preparation capital?  Data center technology is generally outdated in three years, five tops for leading edge companies and financial institutions, so disposability is planned.  And modules can be delivered wholesale to replace outdated modules.  The outdated modules may be just fine for less demanding industries so long as the original owner is assured all data is purged.  The same may not be said for single purpose reactors which in some cases may be contaminated with proprietary materials.  Images of Walt and Jesse disposing of their RV meth lab after the DEA is closing in on them come to mind from the TV series Breaking Bad.


    Breaking Bad RV  Breaking Bad RV

    Breaking Bad Images - Left: RV Meth Lab (Link to Source);  Right: Disposable Lab? (Link to Source)

    BioPharmaceutical manufacturers will need to assess the value of time to market and depreciation of “disposable” factories to determine if the single-purpose modular factory model is right for their business.  Watching GE’s KUBio developments and the experience of JHL Biotech in China may help determine the answer.  Ultimately companies will need to rely on their understanding of the market as well as a reasonable RoI analysis to make the best decision.

    Temperature@ert’s WiFi, Cellular and ZPoint product offerings linked to the company’s Sensor Cloud platform provides a cost effective solution for organizations of all sizes.  The products and services can help bring a laboratory or medical practice into compliance with minimum training or effort.  For information about Temperature@lert’s Cellular and SensorCloud offerings, visit our website at http://www.temperaturealert.com or call us at +1-866-524-3540.



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  • Two Days Left @ NRA Show 2013!

    Have you met the Temperature@lert team yet? Come down to the McCormick Center in Chicago from the 18th through the 21st (this weekend!) and meet with our CEO & President: Harry Schechter, our Brave Business Developer: Mark Langley, our Advertising Acrobat: Diane Deng, and our B2B Bees: Benny Bridger. Find us at Booth #6383!



    This is a not-to-miss event, the premier restaurant, food service and hospitality industry show. Come and learn about how Temperature@lert can avert disasters by overseeing, monitoring, and alerting from BOH, to FOH, to pantry, and through the rest of you culinary kitchenstand. Temperature@lert has you covered and would love to meet with you if you're in the Chicago area! If you can't make it, make sure you're following @TempAlertHarry for the latest news at the show!



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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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  • 3 Ways to Monitor Temperature Remotely

    3 Ways to Monitor Temperature Remotely

    Let's face it: On-site monitoring has a number of drawbacks. Unless there is a consistent personnel presence in any business or warehouse, the sole use of "on-site monitoring" fails to address critical benefits that are typically derived fromtemperature monitoring systems. There must be a hybrid of information streams, in which both on-site and offsite employees are informed of temperature fluctuations and/or related failures. These are 3 of the most common added tools for remote temperature monitoring, all of which are provided by the slew of temperature sensor vendors in the marketplace. Be sure to utilize at least one of these remote options to provide access to "out-house" personnel. 

     

    Text/Email/Cell Alerts:

    Although this is standard fare for most temperature sensors, the true value in 'alerting' via text, email, or phone calls is relatively straightforward. These alerts are three distinct notification streams that can be sent to the necessary personnel, whether they're on-site or in a remote location. In contrast to the mobile application, these alerts are a more direct line of communication between the device(s) and the employee(s), and do not require periodic checks. These timely alerts are the first line of defense, and are the most critical "remote access" tools in temperature monitoring. Phone calls are a newer form of alerting, and in fact, many vendors and suppliers have yet to add phone calls to their alerting capabilities.

    TRY IT YOURSELF: TEMPERATURE@LERT TEST PHONE CALL ALERT

     

    Web Interface:

    This is the most critical, and represents the best way to monitor temperature remotely. A web interface provides a 24/7 look into all devices, sensors, and alerting procedures. Logs and reports are easily accessible from any web browser, and all data can typically be exported to a CSV or Excel file. Reports can also be automated with a web interface, and monthly reports can be delivered seamlessly with this expanded function.  


    iPhone/Android Application:

    As the saying goes, "there's an app for that", and indeed, it's now possible to monitor temperatures remotely from nearly any smartphone. This has become relevant for all temperature sensor vendors, and the ongoing evolution of smartphones and mobile applications continues to up the ante for a smooth and simple temperature monitoring "app". With a link to on-site temperature sensors, these iPhone/Android applications provide a live, in-pocket view of temperature data, statuses, and event notifications. The applications can be used anywhere (with cell carrier coverage), and all of the information is consolidated nicely into the application interface for readability. This type of remote monitoring is great for cell phone enthusiasts, and traveling business owners will truly appreciate the in-pocket coverage. 

    Temperature@lert iPhone Application 

    Temperature@lert Android Application

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  • We Have Launched a Full Services Arm

    After creating an extensive line of environmental monitoring devices for a range of conditions (including humidity, flood, and soil moisture), the services arm expands our ability to assist clients who require more than the “out-of-the-box” solution. Our services arm specifically includes nationwide installation, customized software & sensor development, private labeling / OEM, and verification/validation services.
     
    The expansion of our offerings is critical to Temperature@lert's development. Enterprise clients are often seeking a fully-fledged, customized solution for industry-specific applications, in line with the development and advancement of our remotetemperature monitoring devices. From implementation of a fault-tolerant solution for IT server rooms, to pharmaceutical refrigerators and food service kitchens; our services arm can meet the needs of Enterprise clients that require installation, customization, private labeling, and meeting compliance regulations.

    “Temperature@lert products are the easiest to use for out of the box environmental monitoring. We're confident you'll be up and running in no time,” states Harry Schechter, CEO/President of Temperature@lert. “However, there are times when you run up against a challenge and need just a bit more out of your investment. With the modular and open nature of our products, we believe there's always a way to customize or engineer new solutions to fit your exact specifications. With this belief is how our services arm was launched.“
     
    For more information on Temperature@lert’s latest service offerings, please visit:http://www.temperaturealert.com/Remote-Temperature/Services.aspx.

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  • Harvard Brain Bank Failure: Temperature Monitoring

    BrainBankFreezer

    Background

    A little over a month ago, the Temperature@lert team uncovered yet another frightening "monitoring" tale from the Boston Globe (from Summer 2012). The article, centered around Harvard's Brain Tissue Resource Center at McLean Hospital (referred to herein as the "Harvard Brain Bank"), outlines a recent failure that affected several years of medical data.

     

    Here's a few statistics that crunch the data:

    Total Number of Lost Samples 147
    Time to Collect Samples 14+ Years
    Percentage of Lost 'Autism' Samples  37%

    In all, the 'Autism' samples represented nearly a quarter of all available 'brain samples' that are used for Autism research. The loss of years' worth of data is an outright tragedy, and will merely be remembered as 'lost work'. But how did this happen? How could the Harvard Brain Bank be so careless with precious brain samples? Aren't there best practices that are designed to prevent this type of disaster?

    The answer is, there are both 'best practices' and specialized devices that support them. The shocking truth in all of this, is that the Brain Bank's 'best practices' were not the cause of this failure. In fact, the losses were caused by failure of their own specialized devices. 

    (Read the original Boston Globe article here)

     

    What Happened:

    The Harvard Brain Bank houses about 24 freezers for their brain samples. Each of the 24 freezers are equipped with a digital readout for temperature. The freezers are supplemented by a backup system that detects freezer failures. In concept, this two-step 'confirmation' system should be enough to detect failures before they become critical problems. 

    Unfortunately, their two-step system failed on both fronts. Staff at the Brian Bank discovered  that Freezer 'U' had lost power several days earlier. This particular freezer showed a normal digital readout (-79 degrees Fahrenheit) despite having lost power, and the backup system failed to recognize the problem. Once making this discovery, the staff realized that 147 brain samples had defrosted, and were no longer suitable for use. A leading autism researcher commented that "so many autism brain samples should not have been stored in one freezer" and questions still exist as to why the samples were not distributed amongst the other 23 freezers. Regardless, their solution had a systematic breakdown that stemmed from a simple power outage.

    The Lesson:

    We can all shake fingers, rattle cages, and roll heads to prevent this disaster from happening again, but the more important thing is to identify the solution of the future and learn from these mistakes. Reality is, priceless data and research is often protected by simple technology, and these devices, for better or worse, are not always perfect. For this particular example, the failure was embedded in the power supply. The digital readouts and the backup systems were rendered useless without access to power, which seems like a common-sense consideration. Power can go out at anytime, but should your systems also fail simply because of lost power?

     

    The Solution

    Of course not! From the storage of valuable research material, all the way down to a simple server room, temperature devices should have a secondary connection option. A secondary connection would allow the device to transmit readings despite losing power from a common power outage.  With this feature, caretakers can receive notification of rising/falling temperatures during an outage. This is the ideal solution, especially when contrasted with the 'sudden discovery' of damaging temperatures in the days afterward at the Harvard Brain Bank. Any temperature monitoring solution that solely relies on AC power, is hardly a solution at all!

    Our Solution

    For this specific reason, we've fitted our Temperature@lert Cellular Edition with backup power functionality. Readings can be transmitted during outages with the pre-installed backup supply. Even with telephone lines down, the Cellular Edition utilizes the mobile phone networks to deliver timely alerts. We hope that other critical storage facilities are aware of this case-in-failure, and we're glad to offer a "dual-power" temperature monitoring system.  For more information on the Temperature@lert Cellular Edition, please visit our Products page.

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  • Vaccine Retrieval and Storage: Power Outages

    For most of us, a power outage is a sudden and temporary inconvenience that leaves us without our beloved gadgets and internet (that is, until the battery in your iPhone dies). But for vaccine storage, it's clear that a power outage brings larger and more troublesome obstacles. 

    It is virtually unavoidable to prevent all power failures. Storage faciilities must have back-up plans and back-up equipment to prepare for a power outage. Courtesy of the CDC's latest toolkit, here are a few procedures that you should be implementing in your power outage solution.

     

    1. Do not allow vaccines to remain in a nonfunctioning unit for an extended period of time, if you cannot forsee an immediate 'uptime' for the facility. 

    A homeowner might know this one instinctively; a power outage that lasts several hours can compromise the food in a home refrigerator/freezer. Though the food may be able to sustain an hour or two without cooling, it will eventually become a breeding ground for bacteria. Vaccines, on the other hand, are only effective when the temperature is kept within the required range. Avoid this by moving vaccines into emergency/secondary storage units as soon as possible after an outage.

    Generally, for attenuated vaccines (of which contain a weakened form of the actual virus), exposure to heat and light can compromise the contents. Be sure to move these vaccines to cooler zones immediately during a power outage. On the opposite side, inactivated vaccines are sensitive to freezing temperatures. However, it is difficult to determine whether inactived vaccines are frozen/affected by variable temperatures, and a simple "eye test" is never sufficient. Stay tuned for next weeks post on the differences between attenuated and inactivated vaccines.

     

     

    2. If you are certain that power will be restored before comprimising temperatures can settle in, continue to use caution and be safe, not sorry.

    Do NOT open a storage unit door until the power has been completely restored. Even if the outage is temporary, make sure to avoid exposing vaccines to uncontrolled and uncertain temperatures. Vaccine storage is really a calculated science, and the environment outside of the storage unit represents uncertainty, fluctuation, and variation (not helpful). Whereas on the inside, the temperature and climate are controlled, certain, and show very little fluctuation (ideal for vaccines). In an outage, keep vaccines in their proper dwelling, and be sure not to disturb the natural (and controlled) temperature within the units.

     

    3. Once power is restored:

     Check all refrigerators and freezers that have been affected by the loss of power. make sure to to mark storage units that have moved beyond their set thresholds (Refrigerator 2C-8C , Freezer -50C and -15C). Document the changes in temperature from the thresholds, and make sure to indicate how long vaccines were out of their required range. Such information is highly useful for disaster recovery plans, and can provide insight for future outages. If you ever have  suspicions about a vaccine(s) after a power outage, be sure to mark these with a "DO NOT USE" label and store them seperately. The key is to isolate the affected vaccines, and ensure that they're handled carefully after a power outage. With thorough planning, robust procedures, and attention to detail, affected vaccines can be recovered and bacterial growth can be averted afrer power outages.

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