RPA is now asking hundreds of mothers with new born babies to contact them because a vaccine fridge may have been failing.This strikes me as an amazing problem for a major hospital.
For more information see the full article from the SMH
Low cost temperature loggers have now been available since I started this business in 2000. Back then we were selling temperature loggers for under $100 while the competition was still over $150. Since then the competition has moved down in price which means hospitals have no excuse for not monitoring fridges independently.
The problem at RPA
RPA has a vaccine fridge where the temperature sensor may have been faulty. What that means practically is that:
- The sensor was measuring the wrong temperature
- This wrong reading was being used to control the temperature. This meant that the fridge was then too warm or cold but the controller throught it was now OK
- The wrong reading was being displayed to the staff
- The staff were recording the wrong reading
So if you looked at the records or at the fridge then you would have thought that everything was fine – but it wasn’t.
The simple solution – independent monitoring
The solution is very simple, an independent thermometer needed to be used. That is, there needs to be a second method to record the temperature that does not involve the fridge’s sensor.
The device to do this is called a “temperature logger”. They have existed for years. We sell a dozen different types. They aren’t expensive. In fact, they start at about $50.
If RPA had a logger in place they would have had two independent devices telling them that the vaccines were good:
1. The vaccine fridge itself should have an alarm built into it to alert staff when it is too hot or cold. That’s why vaccine fridges cost more than normal fridges (plus some extra smarts)
2. The temperature logger has a list of all temperatures throughout the day (week, month, year!)
If either had indicated a problem then it could have been resolved immediately. If both said things arefine then the fridge is working.
The total solution
Now, however, even just having a temperature logger is old technology. It is now possible to have a wireless logger for the same price as traditional loggers. These units will automatically transfer the temeperature to the cloud. From there it is possible to:
- immediately alert someone if the fridge is too hot or cold when the problem occurs
- remotely see what the current temperature of a fridge is
- remotely see the history of the fridge temperature