IT’S GETTING HOTTTTT IN HERE!
What equipment, checking and warning systems does your practice use to ensure vaccines and sensitive drugs are kept at optimum temperature?
Are the systems doing their job correctly, to help you avoid spoilage?
With the recent hot-spell of weather it is highly likely that your ‘fridge temperature has
hit new highs not to mention those in your pharmacy area (and vet car boot!)
What can you do? What can you use?
Firstly, get to know your product temperature storage needs (and whilst you’re at it, their exposure to light restrictions as well). Don’t assume and always spot-check (doesn’t take a second at stock take or when you are putting orders away) as things can change…
Maximum and minimum manual thermometer. This is the cheapest piece of kit at your disposal. However, it does not come with an alert function to warn you of exceeded temperature parameters. All too easy to miss until after the fact and, importantly, you may never know it happened and use spoiled drugs as a result.
Electronic data recorder. The simplest data recorders are just an ‘up-market’ manual thermometer and still require manual checks. Though they are compact and easy to use.
Electronic data logger. The data logger produces a print-out, or records onto a USB stick or onto a linked computer – as many times a day/night as you program it to do. However, unless it has an alarm function, any temperature parameters that have been exceeded are historic. Nevertheless, you WILL at some point, KNOW that the temperature parameter has been exceeded and can decide what to do about the (potentially) spoiled drugs.
Posh fridge. All singing-all dancing specialised and dedicated ‘pharmacy fridge’ with all the bells and whistles. If you have one of these, you lucky thing, then it does almost everything for you. Even screams out loud if someone has the left door open… and makes a cup of tea. (Joking, I’m joking…).
Tips and wrinkles
The air temperature in fridges varies enormously every time the door is opened. Measuring the AIR temperature is the standard methodology however this doesn’t necessarily reflect the average temperature of the LIQUID elements contained within a fridge Therefore, for a more realistic recording of the temperature of liquid contents in the fridge, use the following tip…
Tip: put the thermometer probe in a bottle, preferably filled with water, if it will take it, or, if it won’t, filled with paper towel. This will better represent the average temperature of the other liquids in bottles/vials in the fridge rather than relying on an AIR temperature recording (which will probably be different and may affect your decision about spoilage).
Tight for space? Want to use electronic means? Think an alarm would be a great idea?
If a standard thermometer is too bulky for your fridge then consider the following pieces of equipment instead.
Tip: an electronic min/max recording device is designed for small spaces. It can also be used for pharmacy space, a separate vaccine fridge or many other spaces, as well. https://www.jakmarketing.co.uk/minmax-digital-thermometer
Tip: a USB data logger monitors the temperature as often as you set it to. You can check precisely how warm or cold the temperature has reached.
Example: lab-facility EL-USB-1. – https://www.labfacility.com/temperature-instrumentation/data-loggers.html
Tip: use of a separate fridge alarm is a sensible idea to complement your temperature recording. https://www.jakmarketing.co.uk/fridgefreezer-thermometer-alarm
Frequency of recording
The least is twice daily, the most would be consistently and with a reasonable middle-ground of several times daily and overnight.
Warning! Potentially forgotten areas…
Do you measure the temperature of the area wherever you store repeat prescription medications when they are bagged up and waiting for collection? What about your crash kit? The home visit kit?
No? You need to!