Temperature monitoring more important than ever in healthcare
Monday, Mar 18th 2013

As more condition-sensitive medication and tools - supplies which can break down when stored under non-ideal environmental conditions - are utilized in healthcare, the need for temperature monitoring becomes even more paramount.

According to an earlier report from Pharmaceutical Commerce, approximately 70 percent of all global pharmaceutical products will need to be stored under specific cool conditions by 2014. This trend is primarily being driven by the increased use of biological materials to make pharmaceutical products and as goods and services are shipped farther away from their point of origin. However, the research predicted that soon just about all medicine and healthcare instruments will be stored in locations where temperature monitors are present.

"It's important to note that not all biologics require cold-chain handling, nor are all small-molecule products free of that requirement," said Nick Basta, editor in chief of Pharmaceutical Commerce and a co-author of the report. "But when you look at how national and international regulations are evolving, you see that even room-temperature products will soon require additional monitoring steps that add complexity to the transportation process."

How healthcare providers can best use temperature monitoring
As this trend becomes more prevalent, pharmaceutical companies and others who store medicine need to be more proactive in their storage approaches. In a recent article for Healthcare Packaging, Justin Bates, director of healthcare strategy for temperature-sensitive products at UPS, outlined a few key steps organizations can take to better ensure the safety and security of their supplies.

One of the first steps stressed by Bates is that supplies often will have to be outside of specific controlled environments at certain moments. After all, pills and equipment will likely need to be shipped in from elsewhere. To combat the threat that these gaps may pose, organizations may want to consider installing a temperature sensor in a variety of locations. For example, a hospital that receives many medicine shipments in a given day may want to put a temperature monitor in the loading dock.

In addition, organizations should implement a quality disaster recovery plan and make sure that all of their decisions are supported by data. Although a quality temperature monitoring system should ensure that a worst case scenario never comes to fruition, healthcare providers should still take the necessary steps to make sure that a contingency plan is in place just in case. When crafting a doomsday scenario - or any other consideration - involving sensitive and critical supplies, actionable insights should be leveraged so that the organization can know for certain it is taking the right course of action.