Why is monitoring vaccines important?
Storing medicines in the correct temperature range (2-8°C) saves lives. Every medicine, from eye-drops to chemotherapy treatments, has a low tolerance for temperature changes; small deviations can reduce the efficacy of a drug, potentially impacting the treatment and recovery of a patient.
Without an automated monitoring system, nurses are required to manually check and write down the temperature of a fridge twice a day - which, due to patient demands and pressure, can often be missed.
It only takes a fridge door to be left open a little too long, or stocking a fridge above 60% capacity, or blocking the airflow from the fan; an automated system can detect and react to temperature changes in real-time, warning nurses of any immediate problems.
"Everyware has already demonstrated their capability as a trusted partner, helping us monitor the integrity of a wide variety of clinical applications. As we begin to prepare the roll out of these new COVID-19 vaccines, with the specific temperature requirements, we recognise the importance of utilising their same tracking and monitoring capabilities. This, in turn, will allow us to demonstrate our commitment to providing safe patient care"
Steve Clarke / EBME Manager / South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust
Everyware first started working with the South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) in 2016, engaging in a trial of the Everyware platform, to monitor medicine fridges in a Warwick hospital pharmacy. Following the success of the trial, Everyware was asked to roll-out its sensors and system to cover the new Stratford-upon-Avon hospital. Over the next two years, there was a 400% reduction in refrigeration related issues due to improvements in stocking practices and real-time notifications preventing wastage due to fridge or infrastructure problems.
Subsequently, Everyware won the tender for the whole of South Warwickshire; and in summer 2020, rolled out over 200 sensors across 4 hospitals, all linked in real-time back to the Everyware cloud platform. Today, the platform processes more than 500,000 measurements per day for SWFT and use is also expanding to include geo-location of critical equipment.
Sensors and Smart Hubs are the physical components of the system. A sensor with two temperature probes is used to monitor the temperatures inside appliances such as fridges but also freezers, warmers, blood stores. The temperature probes are highly accurate, to ±0.25°C, which is needed for the sensitivity of the medicines being stored; they also have a wide range of temperatures, for example -200 to over 1200°C. For medical fridges, the important range is 2-8°C and Everyware ensures all devices are calibrated against UKAS calibrated machines.
To keep room-temperature medicines safe, Everyware has a sensor that monitors ambient temperature, relative humidity and atmospheric pressure inside the room where the drugs are usually kept in secure cabinets. All sensors have a built-in battery backup that will last up to 48 hours in the event of a power issue in hospital, although the hospitals typically have their own backup generators as well.