With vaccines and medicines kept in veterinary fridges often amounting to many thousands of pounds in terms of stock value, it makes sense to accurately monitor fridge temperatures from a financial point of view as well as meeting current regulatory requirements.
A new fridge monitoring system developed specifically for veterinary practices has already saved several thousand pounds for an agricultural livestock and companion animal practice located in the Yorkshire Dales, as well as simplifying record-keeping procedures and potentially reducing some insurance-based costs.
Dalehead Veterinary Group Ltd, which operates practices in Settle, Bentham and Gisburn, began trialling the RemoteM system almost a year ago. Developed by electronics specialists Remote Monitoring Ltd, RemoteM differs from other monitoring options in several ways.
It is a self-installed, standalone battery operated configuration which does not rely on a power source or the availability of a practice internet signal to operate . It connects automatically to the strongest mobile network in the area, and by removing any reliance on internet and local power availability, delivers a resilient service to the user. Temperature excursion alarms can be provided to one or multiple recipients, using email, automated voice calls or SMS, even when they are away from the practice.
Consisting of small wireless sensors placed in each fridge and transmitting to a base station, RemoteM records a full, real time temperature history for each fridge, transmitting the data to secure Cloud storage. It is then easily accessible by users via an online dashboard and can provide full downloadable reports on the temperature range within each fridge for compliance and regulatory purposes.
Dalehead operate six fridges at their Settle practice. Before installing RemoteM, practice staff needed to record daily readings of fridge temperatures, taken at different times of the day. As well as being a time-consuming process, this also risked being inaccurate as simple in-fridge monitors do not record fluctuations in temperature and therefore all episodes may not become evident.
"RemoteM has already saved us at least £4,000", said Emma Spence, practice manager.
“One of our small animal vaccine fridges failed overnight, and the instant alarm meant we were able to respond immediately, with our on-call vet moving the stock to another fridge without risk of deterioration. At various times of year when we can have high values of stock in individual large fridges, this could have been even more critical.”
The system has also proved useful in alerting staff to fluctuating temperatures during busy periods in warm summer months, helping to ensure that vaccines and medicines supplied are used in optimum condition in line with the practice’s commitment to quality and operational excellence. For this reason, RemoteM sensors are also used outside fridges to monitor stock held at ambient temperatures, where the alarm trigger is set at 25 degrees to ensure this stock does not exceed manufacturers’ recommended temperature storage limits.
Discussions with Dalehead’s insurers have also yielded positive results. Prior to the installation of RemoteM, their stipulation was that all fridges had to be less than three years old; with RemoteM, the insurers are happy for older fridges to continue in use.
RemoteM has already saved us at least £4,000
Emma Spence, Practice Manager