Smart Pharmacies Use the Internet of Things for Medication Cooling
If you are running a chemist shop you don’t have to be told how important it is to store drugs at sufficiently low temperatures. Storage condition affects the quality and potency of medication which means that drugs kept at the wrong temperature will need to be disposed of. Avoiding these scenarios becomes significantly easier if chemists are able to use sensors and algorithms to automatically monitor the cold chain instead of relying on inspections and putting pen to paper. Here is how it works.
Why Chemists Should Automate Storage Temperature Control
Whilst storing medicines at temperatures above 25 degrees is already against the law in most countries, a large proportion of medication needs to be kept at much lower temperatures. This requires refrigeration, with proof of compliance to be provided upon request to industry regulators such as national pharmaceutical councils.
In order to do so, many chemists still use battery-powered min/max thermometers to take one or two readings a day, recording them on a list on a clipboard using a pen.
Besides being somewhat time-consuming in the first place, this procedure is not without its risks. Fridge doors not having been closed properly, or air con failures in other parts of the premises, might only be discovered at the time of the next check due, or worse, solely by chance. And if no one checks the storage facilities over the weekend refrigeration may be down for a considerably longer time.
In most cases, by simply looking at the product, you won’t be able to tell whether the pharmaceutical cold chain has been interrupted. Chemists having to dispose of stocks as a precautionary measure may face significant financial setbacks, particularly when rare or expensive drugs are involved. Which makes consistently monitoring refrigerated medicine stocks even more important.
Manual refrigeration checks and the risk of interrupting the cold chain are now a thing of the past. Pharmacy digitization creates a bunch of possibilities, enabling the use of wireless sensors, software and feedback, to monitor and log the temperature in refrigerated drug storage facilities, saving you time and effort whilst preventing significant financial loss and damage.
How Digital Tech Keeps Drug Storing Temperatures Low
Actually, reading the temperature in fridges, freezers and other drug storage facilities automatically doesn’t involve a lot of technology. All it takes is setting up wireless sensors with built-in microchips that sample readings at short regular intervals, forwarding the data to a cloud-based service. Unlike most common thermometers, this type of sensor stores the readings for a certain amount of time (which is why they are also called temperature or data loggers). And if you opt for products that enable the use of backup batteries, power cuts aren’t really a problem either.
Also, in the event of fridges breaking down, or other stuff going belly up, a cloud-based notification system allows chemists to respond immediately: as soon as temperatures exceed, or fall below, a user-defined value, the system fires off a text or an email. This is just one example of how pharmacists benefit from utilising smart devices and IoT-based services to carry out these essential, formerly manual procedures, freeing up time for advising customers and dispensing medication in the process.
Automated Temperature Logging Using Conrad Connect Professional
Conrad Connect Professional is a IoT platform predominantly aimed at businesses that enables chemists to log and visualise drug storage temperature data by interconnecting smart devices and services, thereby fully automating the process.
Simple ready-to-use templates on Conrad Connect Professional enable temperature readings taken by any compatible sensor to be automatically entered into a cloud-based spreadsheet. And in the case of hardware failures, chemists can provide emergency contacts in the form of an email address or mobile phone number. Setting up the system requires less than an hour. And because everything is centred around commonly available temperature sensors, the upfront costs are low.
Temperature readings are archived in an audit-proof manner, fully complying with applicable law. A browser dashboard (available to authorised staff only) displays the readings. Although this allows checking the data at any time, doing so isn’t really necessary as the automated notification option on Conrad Connect Professional will alert the individuals responsible the moment storage temperatures stray outside their present limits.
All in all, this results in significant time savings, allows chemists to keep an eye on things, and allows them to respond quickly whenever necessary.
Conrad Connect Professional – Taking Efficiency up Another Notch
Medication refrigeration is just one of the tasks chemists can utilise the Internet of Things for.
Automation routines available on Conrad Connect Professional also help pharmacies cut power consumption. Both sensor and time based automated procedures reduce your utility bills – and that by up to 30 percent. Moreover, IoT-based routines ensure optimal air conditioning on the sales floor, with ideal room temperature, excellent air quality, proper lighting and a variety of other things contributing to keeping customers and staff happy.
Want to find out more about how the Internet of Things can help you run your pharmacy more efficiently and sustainably? If so, why not try out Conrad Connect Professional for 30 days, free of charge?
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Automate the documentation and monitoring of your drug cooling following the Pharmacy Works Ordinance. Save time, keep track of everything and react targeted and proactively at any time.