The importance of reliable healthcare institutions is more evident now than ever. Countries worldwide are working to find and adopt new technologies, procedures, and infrastructure to address public health crises. This advancement is all taking place as the healthcare industry looks for more balanced and democratic ways to lessen the many public health and chronic disease challenges facing different populations today.
Data loggers are one of the leading technologies that healthcare leaders are turning to today to create safe medical supply chains, make treatments available to patients, and improve global health outcomes. But first, many people need to know what data loggers are, how they operate, and their crucial role in supporting vital healthcare institutions by keeping medical products safe.
Let’s explore some basics of how data loggers work, their importance for the healthcare system, and why medical and pharmaceutical organizations rely on them.
What Are Data Loggers and How Do They Work?
Data loggers are small electronic devices that collect environmental data from their surroundings, such as temperature, humidity, and differential pressure. This data is collected using highly accurate temperature sensors and stored on the devices’ internal memory. Temperature or environmental readings are taken at regular and programmable time intervals, producing a data set that gives a clear picture of environmental conditions over time in a specific area.
This data becomes stored on a data logger’s internal memory and later transferred to external computer systems, hard drives, or cloud storage systems. Then, the temperature or environmental data can be analyzed and, in many cases, submitted to regulators. Now that we’ve explored how data loggers work let’s explore why they are crucial for maintaining healthcare systems worldwide.
The Role of Data Loggers in Cold Chain Management
Pharmaceutical supply chains are central to the functioning of hospitals, healthcare facilities, and pharmacies worldwide. In addition, global supply chains allow pharmaceutical products to make their way from manufacturers to patients. However, producing safe pharmaceutical supply chains is complicated because many pharmaceutical products’ storage requirements are within specific conditions and temperatures to maintain their effectiveness.
That means refrigeration and other cooling systems must keep products at safe temperatures. It also means that pharmaceutical companies must rely on accurate tools and technologies that verify storage temperatures, which is why data loggers are so important.
By collecting and storing temperature data from storage facilities, data loggers can ensure keeping all pharmaceutical products in safe storage conditions. In addition, they allow companies to collect and format temperature data that prove this to regulatory bodies tasked with protecting consumers from unsafe products.
A timely example of cold chain management is major COVID-19 vaccines, for which companies like Pfizer use unconventional cooling techniques like dry ice to ship products in climate-controlled containers. These containers use internal data loggers to record temperatures that the manufacturer monitored. Healthcare personnel must also verify the receipt of vaccines, providing an automated alert to Pfizer managers.
It is no wonder that many investors saw cold chain management technologies as a hot opportunity, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic response. Many companies are rushing to integrate data loggers into their cold chain management procedures in line with this new trend of big data, digitization, and centralization of healthcare services. Many of these trends could well influence how vaccines deploy in the future.
Data Loggers for Pharmaceutical Storage and Temperature Mapping
Data loggers are essential for transporting medical products over great distances through global supply chains and storing them over time after they arrive. Healthcare facilities must be mindful of storage conditions. That often includes monitoring storage temperatures using data loggers.
However, maintaining safe storage conditions goes beyond regularly monitoring temperatures. Healthcare facilities must also ensure that other externalities, such as humidity, ventilation, and inventory load, are not impacting product quality. For example, some healthcare facilities might choose to use data loggers that monitor air quality and humidity or conduct regular checks of storage facilities to ensure proper ventilation.
The placement of storage units is essential, as are the practices and procedures given to healthcare professionals. For example, some facilities might limit the presence of liquids, drinks, or other contaminants around storage areas. Managers must also keep records of the inventory load of storage units because the number of products stored can impact internal temperatures.
Healthcare facilities often need to use several data loggers that monitor temperatures in different areas of the same storage unit to collect large datasets of temperature conditions. That’s because temperatures within the same unit can vary, and avoiding exposing products to improper temperatures is crucial. In addition, combining measurements of these different data loggers can create a temperature map of the unit at large, allowing managers to oversee temperatures in all unit areas.
In summary, healthcare providers rely on data loggers to transport pharmaceutical products, store those products when they arrive, and continually monitor environmental conditions to ensure product quality.