Temperature monitoring and control is critical in haematology as deviations can jeopardise the viability and safety of blood and blood products, putting patient lives at risk, and resulting in both financial loss and the loss of highly valuable and often scarce blood products.
Blood Safety and Quality Regulations stipulate that blood should be stored within the narrow temperature band of between 2-6°C. If blood is exposed to temperatures higher than specified for more than 15-minutes, the risk of bacterial contamination increases. Conversely, storing blood at temperatures below 2°C destroys the blood cells, rendering it ineffective.
Since partnering with Autima, a premium supplier of automated temperature monitoring devices, NSW Health Pathology has one of the country’s lowest blood and blood product wastage rates.
Autima was founded in 2011 as a dependable provider of remote monitoring solutions for highly regulated environments including Health, Life Sciences, University & Research Institutes, and Warehousing and Distribution industries in Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia.
Autima is committed to providing its clients peace of mind by enabling them to continuously monitor their temperature sensitive products and equipment from anywhere around the globe.
About NSW Health Pathology
NSW Health Pathology was established in 2012 with the sole purpose of consolidating pathology and forensic services across NSW Health, which were formerly administered by each local health district.
NSW Health Pathology is the largest provider of public pathology services in Australia, with over 5,000 employees and over 61 million tests conducted annually. Over 60 public laboratories and approximately 200 community and home collection services are available to guarantee that all residents of New South Wales have access to vital life-saving services.
Why NSW Health Pathology Partnered with Autima
Before partnering with Autima, the ICL-Blood Bank of NSW Health Pathology monitored the temperature of its emergency blood eskies using traditional data loggers.
“We attempted numerous automated solutions to achieve a balance between usefulness and cost-effectiveness, but unfortunately they all failed. The problem that we faced was that the thermometers did not operate properly, or the temperature data loggers were not activated or recording at the time of the breach,” says Peter Loizou, Senior Scientific Officer at NSW Health Pathology’s ICL-Blood Bank.
“These flaws and inconsistencies were leading to avoidable financial losses. Four blood units cost between 600 and 800 Australian dollars – a lot of money if you’re discarding blood four to five times a year due to disrupted temperature control.”
To reduce wastage, a decision was made to move to a fully automated, cloud-based remote monitoring platform that could provide automated alerts whenever temperatures deviate outside of the specified ranges, in this instance, 2°C and 6°C.
A Like-Minded Partnership
Peter Loizou was referred to Autima by his operations manager, who was already utilising Autima’s monitoring system, to monitor the temperature of lab samples being transported between facilities.
Following a meeting with the Autima team and a presentation of their technology solutions, Peter Loizou decided to purchase three temperature monitoring devices to be used inside blood eskies to ensure that their temperature control equipment is operating with maximum precision.
“Since using Autima’s solutions, if there is any deviation in temperature, we are alerted straight away, giving us enough time to rectify the problem before the temperature increases or decreases,” adds Peter Loizou.
Peter Loizou continues to add, that because the ICL-Blood Bank has particular needs – the temperature monitoring unit must travel with each esky – essentially one unit, one esky, with one cable – not all the unit’s capabilities and features are needed.
If, however, one was monitoring more than just temperature (such as humidity, air quality, or differential pressure), the unit could simultaneously monitor up to four external temperature points.
Hindsight Is a Wonderful Thing
Peter Loizou says, in hindsight, NSW Health Pathology’s ICL-Blood Bank should have utilised Autima from the get-go when first searching for automated temperature monitoring solutions.
“We would have saved lots of time and money in the long run. The system is user-friendly, the units are trouble-free, and the quality management and after-sales support has been superb. I would – and have many times – recommended Autima to anyone looking for an automated, accurate, and reliable temperature monitoring system,” concludes Peter Loizou.