Clinical laboratorians are well aware of the essential nature of temperature-controlled environments to modern medical diagnostics. Driven by the need to ensure the integrity of testing systems and reagents, and to protect inherently valuable patient samples and products, the means by which the lab maintains and monitors temperatures throughout the work environment is dictated by the greater institution, as well as by regulatory bodies governing lab practices.
The scope of temperature management is site and work dependent, but the concept of whole-environment monitoring should include the establishment of constant temperatures within refrigerators and freezers (and mitigation of temperature fluctuations), as well as system abilities for monitoring the ambient temperature of storage areas (for supplies and reagents) and testing areas (per equipment specifications for operating temperature and humidity ranges).
Given the essential nature of temperature control, it is wise to remain at the forefront of technology innovation. Digital displays, communications, and storage mechanisms have largely replaced traditional systems that employ less sophisticated mechanics. Myriad alerting functions, detailed user controls, robust data generation and reporting, and sound temperature control are just a few of the features offered by today’s system vendors.
Looking forward, system software refinements will allow preprogramed tolerances for short term fluctuations caused by the opening and closing of doors that do not otherwise affect the integrity of the contents. Allowing for the highly sensitive nature of modern probes, alarm fatigue remains an issue, so ongoing vigilance and preparation for emergencies remains important. As the dependence on electronic devices for almost every activity in the lab only increases, a thoughtful understanding of what effects a downtime scenario would have and what back-up mechanisms are in place is invaluable. Current temperature monitoring systems provide robust, cost-effective, and secure methods for the surveillance and documentation of temperatures. These in turn provide peace of mind regarding product and testing integrity.
David McCormick is the managing editor of Medical Lab Management.
PDC Healthcare offers Timestrip® Blood Temp 10, a convenient temperature indicator used to enhance the quality control process for blood transportation. The device monitors the temperature of a blood unit and clearly indicates when a temperature of 10°C has been breached. Timestrip Blood Temp 10 is an easy option thanks to its unique design, which is simple to activate and does not need pre-conditioning prior to use. It also does not need to be refrigerated or cycled. Blood Temp 10 features a push-button activation and the display is clear and easy to interpret. The device helps ensure regulatory compliance with AABB Standards for blood banks and transfusion services, and the FDA’s CFR 600.15(a) for monitoring temperature of whole blood during transportation.
To learn more about Timestrip® Blood Temp 10, visit www.pdchealthcare.com/bloodtemp10.
This article was originally featured in Medical Lab Management and is posted with permission from Medical Lab Management, Vol. 6 #1. ©2017 Ridgewood Medical Media, LLC, Ridgewood, NJ. All rights reserved.