February 7, 2018

How to Create a Connected Pharmacy Using Digital Monitoring Solutions

Written by SmartSense | Pharmacy Safety

Pharmacies have an obligation to store, deliver, and administer life-saving medications and vaccines. Since patients depend on them and costs are high, maintaining pharmaceuticals at their optimal temperature is paramount to both ensure their efficacy and minimize risk. Different products require various storage temperatures, so it’s important that your pharmacies are equipped with the proper refrigerator and freezer units.

Here’s where it gets tricky:  Scheduling manual checks of each unit throughout the day proves challenging when pharmacists are busy with patients. A digital, remote, continuous temperature monitoring system that connects all of your storage units in a single centralized system cuts out the manual requirement, so pharmacists can focus on patients. It’s also the most efficient and reliable method.

The Benefits of Continuous Monitoring

Leading pharmacies are moving to continuous temperature monitoring, a more proactive approach than a paper-based/clipboard system. By combining wireless sensors, real-time data logging, and alerts across multiple digital platforms and storage units, compliance and operations managers have more visibility into temperature excursions and are able to take the appropriate corrective actions when temperatures fall outside of safe ranges. Cloud-based systems also collect data that reveal when refrigerators and freezers need maintenance, and can predict unit failures in advance, allowing staff to schedule repairs before breakdown occurs.

With continuous, digitally connected monitoring, your pharmacy can also benefit by: :

  • Ensuring product quality at administration
  • Prioritizing patient safety and maintaining trust
  • Optimizing resources and reducing human error
  • Protecting investments and preventing loss
  • Meeting regulation requirements

2018 CDC Vaccine Recommendations

The CDC has released its updated Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit for 2018. To fully ensure the safety of vaccines, the following equipment is recommended:

  • Stand-alone refrigerators and freezers with enough space to accommodate your maximum inventory without crowding.
  • Digital data logger (DDL) or sensor for each unit enabling continuous temperature monitoring and recording that can be set at 30-minute intervals (at minimum).
  • A buffered temperature probe to best measure actual vaccine temperatures.

Once your units, sensors, and probes are set up and connected to each storage unit, implement the following action plan for best results:

  • Place monitoring devices in areas most likely to show temperature fluctuations. 
  • Inspect and calibrate monitoring devices at scheduled intervals.
  • Review temperature monitoring data monthly to determine trends or recurring issues.
  • Keep monitoring records for at least the shelf-life of the product or as required by state and federal regulations.

The Smart Pharmacy Solution

SmartSense's pharmacy solution meets these CDC pharmacy requirements—and more. For example, the thermodynamic principles of our Virtual Buffer Vials significantly advance on typical glycol buffer vials. Not only do they save much-needed space within units, but—more importantly—they improve the accuracy of temperature monitoring and provide data logs, which are required by some state boards of pharmacy.

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Topics: Pharmacy Safety

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