Posted by Joe Perrott
May 09, 2019
Billy Lane opened his first pharmacy in Limerick on Davis St in 1990 and has been serving the people of Limerick since then, and is now a member of the Haven group since June 2015.
Haven Pharmacy is a group of independent pharmacists who have come together to provide Irish families with invaluable health advice. They are the leading, fastest growing independent co-operative pharmacy group in Ireland with over 100 pharmacists, over 300 staff, practicing in urban and rural areas - and dispensing more medicines than any other pharmacy group in Ireland.
In order to maintain efficacy, vaccines must be kept at proper storage temperatures, specifically between 2°C and 8°C. Temperature control is extremely important for vaccines, as any deviation outside the recommended temperatures risks the quality of the vaccine, and in turn, the safety of the patient. All businesses handling temperature sensitive medicines must follow recommendations and best practices for managing, storing, and monitoring.
This is often a manual process, and requires staff in busy businesses such as pharmacies to perform a temperature check on several times a day on temperature controlled medicine cabinets. This is in line with regulation and when a measurement is taken, it must be recorded. This is often done on pre-printed templates or in a notebook where temperatures are logged.
The process is very manual, and requires a staff member to leave the pharmacy serving area, and perform the checks. The timing for checking the temperatures can vary day to day depending on the busyness of the pharmacy. And during hours that the pharmacy is closed, at night and during weekends, there is no method of knowing if the temperatures are within the acceptable levels.
When Government Health and Safety officers come to audit the pharmacy to ensure compliance, all temperature logs must be in presented to the official for review. This is done by presenting a folder full of sheets and notebooks where logs were kept.
Quiet often, there can be €5k - €10k worth of medicines in a pharmacy fridge. When the storage temperature falls outside the required 2°C to 8°C the medicines need to be quarantined and checked. This is a timely and costly process and requires backup stock to be ordered while this process is being undertaken.
Billy Lane was looking for a reliable cost effective solution to monitor his pharmacy’s medical fridge and improve compliance logging. He wanted 24/7 monitoring, alerts directly to his phone should any issues begin to occur, so he could move stock if problems arose. It was also important that the temperature reports could be easily accessed online and printed in a neat manor for the audit file.
TempReporter, a Remote Signals IoT solution was installed in the pharmacy. A two probe solution was provided and Billy was able to install the device himself as it’s a plug and play sensor. One of the sensor probes was placed in the center of the pharmacy fridge, and the other probe was placed in the dispensary where temperatures are to be kept below 25°C.
The pharmacy was able to download the Remote Signals app to a smartphone, and quickly setup the device on the pharmacy account. Using the app, the staff were quickly able to set the desired temperature ranges for both temperature probes, setting the fridge temperature range between 2°C and 8°C, and the dispensary range between 2°C and 25°C.
Temperatures are logged every 5 minutes, and after 30 minutes the average is taken of the previous 6 recordings. This is to ensure any readings taken during door openings are factored in and false alarms are not sent.
Every hour, temperature readings from both the pharmacy fridge and the dispensary are sent to the cloud. The transmission includes 2 readings from both probes representing 30-minute temperature records. The data collected is presented on the mobile app for easy viewing, and also in the web app where users can look at the live view dashboard as well as look at the historical data.
Billy at the team in Haven Pharmacy Limerick are delighted with the solution. It now means the medicines and vaccines are monitored 24/7 and they have full visibility into the conditions in the pharmacy at all times. One of the big wins for Billy was that all the data collected was stored online and readily available for print at any time. The HACCP reports for temperature monitoring that are required are now sent weekly in a neat and consistent format to the team for review and audit.