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Children's Hospital Colorado to Expand Wireless Sensor System

The hospital reports that TempSys' CheckPoint solution has already paid for itself "a couple of times over," by reducing the amount of labor required to track temperatures within blood coolers and other units.
By Claire Swedberg
The hospital then proceeded to install the CheckPoint RFID sensors, each with two AA batteries to power the sensors and transmissions (the batteries have a lifetime of up to two years). Each tag comes with a sensor probe that measures the temperature within a cooling or heating unit. TempSys also provided sensor tags to measure the humidity levels within the operating rooms, as well as the water level within a reverse osmosis (RO) tank used for laboratory work.

A CheckPoint RFID sensor tag
Each tag transmits its sensor data and unique ID at preset intervals—every five minutes for blood-temperature monitoring, and every 15 minutes for most other units. The tag data is collected by CheckPoint software, which determines whether the temperature range falls within the preset accepted threshold. If it does not, a text or e-mail message is sent to the appropriate individuals, and a red alert is displayed on the software dashboard. The information is also stored for review by hospital management.

Upon accepting his position at the hospital, Wilcox says he was told that the CheckPoint system was presenting the medical facility with so many alerts—50 to 60 messages daily for the 400 devices installed—that the hospital might have to hire additional employees to manage all of the adjustments and repairs necessary to address the temperature fluctuations. According to Wilcox, the CheckPoint solution made the hospital aware of "how erratic many of our refrigerators were during the course of a day." However, he says, he discovered that most problems were the result of a single cause: the overstocking or mis-stocking of foods or medications within a certain type of cooling unit. This overpacking, he found, prevented air inside the unit from circulating properly, thereby adversely affecting the temperature.

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