08th February 2024

Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust

Installing RemoteM fridge monitoring systems across a number of our operational sites holding either large volumes of vaccines, refrigerated medicines or high value stock has saved time for our staff, speeded up our processes and significantly reduced the potential for human error. Most importantly, I have an immediate overview of how all the monitored fridges are operating across the estate. I no longer have to wait for manually recorded data, and in the event of a temperature excursion or fridge breakdown, I can make immediate and informed judgements on whether stock is suitable for use, saving a significant amount of time and money for our services.
- Katy Houseman, Pharmacy Services Manager

About Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust

Established in 2011, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust provides community healthcare services for the people of Leeds. Employing over 3,000 staff including nurses, therapists, pharmacists and clinical staff, the Trust delivers services for both adults and children in or close to people’s homes including home-based care, health visiting and school nursing. Working in close partnership with other NHS services including social care providers, the criminal justice system and the voluntary sector, the Trust aims to create joined up services to give people in Leeds the care and support they need.

Implementing reliable, automated fridge monitoring systems across multiple sites

Operating multiple services across many different sites and serving a range of diverse needs, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust works through neighbourhood teams to deliver care in the community, with staff also working in prisons, police custody units and special schools. With a multiplicity of sites and services, maintaining close control of medicines and vaccines stored in fridges across the area presented a very specific challenge.

“Prior to the implementation of RemoteM automated monitoring systems, our checks and controls were completely manual,” explained Katy Houseman, Pharmacy Service Manager for the Trust. “Calibrated thermometers in fridges were checked daily, but only when the relevant clinic was operating, so this was not a 24/7 solution. Results were recorded and sent to me periodically. Issues with cold storage arising on Thursday evening, for example, might not come to light until Monday morning. As a result, in the event of any excursion, the data was seldom robust enough to make an informed decision on whether the affected medicines and vaccines could be used, which could result in wastage, unnecessary expense and delay to patient care if clinics had to be rescheduled.” 

Implementing RemoteM across the participating services

When the Trust’s Medicines Management team saw the potential for the RemoteM system in this environment, they trialled it to assess performance in use. “Not all of the fridges in our clinics are in scope for automated monitoring, including prisons, and others don’t hold enough stock to merit monitoring,” explained Katy. “We currently have nine services signed up to the RemoteM system, all of whom hold significant levels of refrigerated medicines or vaccines in stock.”

Implementation of RemoteM was completed on a staggered basis across the different services. The original intention was to install it all at once, but for the Trust, the logistics of getting equipment to site and then delivered out and installed meant that gradual implementation proved a more practical approach.

“The kit itself was very easy to install, which was a pleasant surprise as I had expected more complicated configuration requirements,” said Katy. “Essentially it all worked exactly as promised. We plugged in the base stations, put the nodes in the fridges and the automated monitoring was up and running. We encountered some very minor hiccups, which were quickly and efficiently solved by RemoteM.”

Katy also had some very specific requirements regarding set-up and found the RemoteM team to be extremely responsive and approachable, working to understand exactly what the Trust required and making sure this was achieved. Feedback from the Trust services using the system continue to be positive.

RemoteM - the benefits in use

For Katy, the benefits are significant. “RemoteM has effectively significantly reduced the possibility of human error as well as the daily need for busy professionals to action time-consuming manual processes,” she explained. “Sometimes, the temperature recordings did not reach me until weeks after the event. Now, I have access to real time data, wherever I am, at any time, which is invaluable.”

Having an ‘at a glance’ overview of all the fridges and services participating, rather than having to scroll through reams of paper, means that the combination of time savings and reliability of data plays a key role for Katy, contributing to efficiency and professionalism. “RemoteM saves time for the individual services too,” she confirmed. “They have full access to the dashboard which gives them robust data in terms of the suitability and efficacy of the medicines and vaccines they are administering on a daily basis.”

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