Smart system warns of temperature changes for safe storage of medicines, vaccines and pharmaceutical products
NHS staff in hospitals do a remarkable job to keep patients safe, but a national report has found that increasing time pressure and the lack of a co-ordinated approach to safety can undermine their efforts.
Hanwell, a UK manufacturer of wireless environmental monitoring solutions, says that an effective ward temperature monitoring system can ease stress on frontline staff and play an integral role in improving patient safety.
The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) review of the safety culture within NHS Trusts in England reported that increasing patient demand and staff shortages left little time to implement safety guidance effectively, factors that can lead to ‘never events’ – serious incidents that are regarded as wholly preventable – and wider patient safety issues.
Hanwell has developed its Selsium solution specifically to address patient safety, designed to give hospitals and other healthcare facilities the latest in-ward temperature technology for safe refrigerator storage of medicines, vaccines and pharmaceutical products.
Poor temperature control of vaccine storage can have serious implications. An audit carried out by one Primary Care Trust found that 40% of vaccines were stored outside the correct temperature range and 500 patients were recalled for new vaccinations from two GP practices.
Effective automated ward temperature monitoring not only helps free up nurses’ time but also reduces the risk to patients from potentially ineffective treatments. Trusts will also save the cost of having to re-administer drugs and ensures medicine waste is minimised.
Cold chain monitoring can also save the day in the event of incidents such as power cuts, fridge failures or doors left open. Wireless telemetry integrated into a system like Selsium can be deployed over a few wards with just a handful of fridges, or many wards with hundreds of fridges. When the temperature within one of those fridges breaches pre-determined settings, alarm notification and actions required are delivered to a nominated location for staff to quickly respond.
Selsium also stores the data on a local network, which can be used by senior staff to access, analyse and identify any potential trends that may cause problems in the future – another patient safety advantage that can help hospitals meet the CQC’s recommendations for a safer healthcare system.
Philip Duthaler, Business Development Executive at Hanwell, said: “There is no doubt that accurate, real-time temperature monitoring improves patient safety. For starters, NHS Trusts and other healthcare bodies can avoid the risk of potentially ineffective vaccines and other medicines entering the system, and the associated costly and hugely damaging risk of recall. Not to mention the time wasted in tending to outdated monitoring systems. Hospital staff are under huge pressures, so it makes sense to ease this by removing manual reporting from day-to-day duties and instigating a much more effective and accountable automated system wherever possible.”