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Florida Hospital Measures Success of Temperature-Tracking System

The 2,200-bed facility expects to improve patient safety by using AeroScout Wi-Fi-based tags to determine when pharmaceutical refrigerators are left open too long, or are operating improperly.
By Claire Swedberg
The data has already proved that not all refrigeration units are created equal, Frantz says. Some are used continuously, particularly at certain times of the day, which may raise the temperature, for example, in the early mornings. This does not necessarily indicate a door being left open, but rather a very busy refrigerator whose door is being opened many times throughout the day. In other cases, appliances remain closed nearly all day.

"The trick is to keep the refrigerator from being left ajar," Frantz says, and that is where adjusting the alerting system has paid off. The hospital is now setting the system to appropriately warn employees (through an e-mail or page) when the temperature has remained unacceptably raised for any specific refrigerator. The data has helped the facility to identify units that have sticking doors, which are more likely not to close properly, and thereby correct the problems by, for example, replacing the latch.

Frantz says he expects to also further study how he will use the temperature data. One option is for security, because if a refrigerator door is left open, then it is clearly unlocked, meaning the pharmaceuticals within that unit could be at risk for theft.

The hospital plans to install AeroScout tags and temperature probes on all of its 200 pharmaceutical refrigerators, then begin working on the food refrigerators, though there is no deadline set for completing that tagging. Adventist Health System, the hospital's parent company, may then decide to install the system at all of its facilities, if the Florida Hospital system continues to be successful. MobileView will be able to accommodate that expansion, says Joel Cook, AeroScout's marketing director for health-care solutions. Because it is a Web-based server, Adventist could track the temperatures at all of its 37 organizations from a single, central location.

"Because of its size and complexity, there could be lots of different users," adds Steffan Haithcox, AeroScout's senior director of marketing. By testing the system at Florida Hospital, the health-care provider can now ensure that the software can be accessed, and that alerts can be sent from many different locations.

The hospital intends to measure the system's success based on increased safety, rather than on financial savings. "Our implementation is primarily about patient safety by managing storage temperatures," Frantz states. However, he adds, "cost avoidance should follow, as early alerting helps us prevent spoilage caused by out-of-range temperatures."

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