Importance of temperature control for healthcare providers
Wednesday, Oct 3rd 2012

Having quality environmental monitors in place in storage settings must be a top priority for hospitals and healthcare providers, as not having early detection in place could yield catastrophic results. Everything from medicine and tissue samples to donated blood and food needs to be kept at specific temperature and humidity levels, and a failure by a healthcare provider to properly monitor storage conditions might cause serious harm to a patient.

Tissue samples
One of the main areas in which temperature control is of the utmost importance to hospitals and other healthcare providers is in the storage and handling of tissue samples. In order to properly diagnose a number of diseases, doctors need to be looking at quality tissue samples, according to the Archives of Pathology. To ensure that tissue samples are not compromised in any way, a healthcare provider needs to put a premium on quality storage solutions, which should include remote monitoring to see that the storage conditions remain optimal.

This is important in cancer research, as the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology reported that only high quality tissue samples that have remained stored under optimal conditions can be used for research and for testing new treatments.

"[T]he laboratory results are only as good as the specimens received for testing," the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) said. "Quality laboratory results begin with proper collection and handling of the specimen submitted for analysis."

According to PATH, blood samples are especially susceptible to their surroundings, as blood that is improperly stored at any time could alter its form. For example, a change in environment could lead to the blood clotting, which would make it unusable in a medical setting.

Cold storage for food
Restaurant freezers and hospitals may seem unrelated, but in fact healthcare providers need to be as careful - if not even more careful - about their cold storage facilities for food items as restaurants are. Food borne illnesses pose a threat to everyone, but that risk is highlighted in a healthcare setting where patients are especially susceptible to illness. For example, the World Health Organization said that infant formula that is stored or prepared at less than ideal temperatures could make infants, who do not have fully formed immune systems, quite sick.

This also extends to hospitals that treat children, as they are another at-risk population for contracting food-borne illnesses, New York State's health department reported. To help prevent the risk of disease, the department recommended keeping dry storage facilities between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with cold storage maintained at a maximum of 40 degrees and freezers set to zero degrees.