Current regulations requiring veterinary practices to maintain accurate records of the temperatures at which drugs are stored can require systems and processes which are both time consuming and subject to error.
Worcestershire-based Stocks Vets have installed the new RemoteM temperature monitoring system by Remote Monitoring Ltd, which operates effectively for both refrigerated and ambient stock. In addition to reliable and continuous temperature monitoring, the system has the added benefit of a 24/7 alarm system alerting users in real time when values go out of range, eliminating the risk of costly stock losses.
Stocks Vets is a companion animal practice with surgeries in Upton upon Severn and Worcester, taking its name from the old stocks situated close to its original Upton site. Whilst the practice had already upgraded to digital thermometers for monitoring temperatures in refrigerators and storage areas, Practice Manager Owen Williams was looking for a robust and failsafe technical solution to automate and alarm the process.
"We had moved on from time consuming daily checks to digital thermometers in our medicine storage areas, but we still needed to download information from these regularly, print it out and file it. I wanted a ‘plug and play' solution capable of monitoring all stock held in the practice, either refrigerated or ambient, with an alarm system I could monitor 24/7 from my desk or even from the comfort of my own home."
RemoteM is a standalone system which does not rely on a power source or the availability of an internet signal to operate, removing any reliance on internet and local power availability. Instead, it connects to the phone network (GSM), automatically selecting the strongest network in the area. Small wireless ‘nodes' sit in fridges or storage areas and transmit information to a base station.
RemoteM works by recording full, real time temperature histories for each location, transmitting the data to secure Cloud storage. It is then easily accessible by users via an online dashboard and provides full downloadable reports on the temperature range within each fridge or ambient area for compliance and regulatory purposes. In the event of a temperature excursion, alarms can be sent to multiple recipients, using email, automated voice calls or SMS, even when they are away from the practice.
The original RemoteM base station and monitoring nodes were delivered to Stocks Vets during the Coronavirus lockdown period. Owen installed these at the practice's Upton on Severn site himself, without any issues. "We simply plugged in the base station then placed the nodes into our fridges and ambient storage areas," he stated. "It was a straightforward process. One node did require resetting, which was easy to do, then all we did were simple tweaks to ensure the settings were neither too high nor too low. Installation did not require any specific IT skills."
Since installation, no dramas have been reported. "It's easy, effortless and paperless," says Owen. "Just once a month, we download all the data into a desktop file ready for inspections in line with current regulations. Day to day, no special effort is required and there's no maintenance, which has reduced repetitive tasks for one member of our team."
To date, the system has generated a couple of alerts during a period of hot weather, when nodes in a cabinet signalled that the temperature had risen to a point of concern. The staff at Stocks Vets simply put on air conditioning and ventilated the room to bring the area down to within the required temperature range, ensuring that the medicines remained in prime condition.
Stocks Vets have been using the RemoteM monitoring system since May 2020 at their Upton on Severn site, and recently installed the equipment at their Worcester site once the surgery opened again following the Coronavirus lockdown. "RemoteM provides real value for money; it's a great piece of kit," confirmed Owen. "Key benefits including time savings and ease of use, coupled with the knowledge that we have constant temperatures surveillance for all our valuable stock."
It's easy, effortless and paperless
Owen Williams, Practice Manager