How Often Should Medicine Fridge Temperatures Be Checked?
Refrigerators play a vital role in healthcare and medical establishments, as many medicines must be stored within a narrow temperature range (usually between +2°C and +8°C), in line with the manufacturer’s instructions. Medicines that require cold storage include chemotherapy drugs, insulin, vaccines, topical preparations (such as eye drops), glucagon and, of course, blood and blood products.
The correct storage of medicines that are required to be kept cool is important for patient wellbeing and safety. Some drugs degrade if not stored at the correct temperature, while others – such as eye drops – may be uncomfortable to use if not chilled.
Key principles for the cold storage of medicines
To protect patient safety and ensure the efficacy of medicines, it is important to observe the following guidelines:
1) End the reliance on daily temperature checking
Daily monitoring of the fridge is not sufficient and exposes the storage of medication to human error. If a member of staff is tasked with the responsibility of checking the temperature once a day, mistakes are easily made, either when checking the thermometer or recording the reading on a paper chart. A reliable digital method of maintaining a constant check on the temperature is far more accurate and less prone to human error.
2) Use a temperature data logger
A temperature data logger is an effective way to constantly monitor the temperature of a pharmaceutical fridge and alert staff should the interior become out of limits. Unlike a daily temperature recording, which may not reveal a high internal temperature for many hours, a data logger will immediately report an evolving problem so that decisive action can be taken to protect valuable medication from deterioration. It’s important not to rely solely on any in-built temperature readings – an independent device is a much better choice. With 24/7 temperature monitoring by the data logger, staff can focus on delivering excellent patient care. The correct type of logger can provide immediate annunciation of any potential problems, as well as an inviolate historical record.
3) Complete an annual audit
All pharmaceutical fridges that are used for the storage of vaccines should undergo an annual cold chain audit, to prove they function correctly and are safe for their intended purpose. Where problems with the fridge emerge, an audit should be completed sooner. A record of the fridge temperature obtained from the data logger can be invaluable as part of the audit in providing evidence of its reliability and suitability and for highlighting how actions may have been taken to address fluctuations in the temperature.
Contact Signatrol to find out more
At Signatrol, we stock a wide range of compact and easy-to-use data loggers for fridges in healthcare settings. To find out more, download our free guide, ‘A Buyer’s Guide to Data Loggers’, or get in touch for a no-obligation quotation.
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