Successful Study in Greece: Improving Temperature Monitoring at the Last Mile in Pharmacies

Temperature monitoring in the supply cold chain is critical in ensuring that products are kept under optimal cold chain conditions. The general practice for temperature monitoring in refrigerators at the periphery is to use a thermometer (alcohol stem thermometer or bi-metal thermometer). This intervention study was conducted in Greece to establish...

Temperature monitoring in the supply cold chain is critical in ensuring that products are kept under optimal cold chain conditions. The general practice for temperature monitoring in refrigerators at the periphery is to use a thermometer (alcohol stem thermometer or bi-metal thermometer). This intervention study was conducted in Greece to establish the superiority of the Fridge-tag and Vaxtag (30-day electronic refrigerator temperature logger) against thermometers.

Successful Study in Greece

Objective

Temperature monitoring in the supply cold chain is critical in ensuring that products are kept under optimal cold chain conditions. The general practice for temperature monitoring in refrigerators at the periphery is to use a thermometer (alcohol stem thermometer or bi-metal thermometer). This intervention study was conducted in Greece to establish the superiority of the Fridge-tag and Vaxtag (30-day electronic refrigerator temperature logger) against thermometers.

Methods

Two-stage cluster sampling was used to obtain a representative sample of retail pharmacies Magnisia and Sporades regional units in Greece. Twenty retail pharmacies were selected as “intervention” groups and another 20 retail pharmacies were selected as “control” groups. Fridge-tag and Vaxtag devices were randomly assigned to intervention pharmacies and responsible pharmacists were trained accordingly either on the use of Fridge-tag or Vaxtag through a series of demonstrations by the study team followed by drill and practice by participants. No training was provided to the pharmacists from the “control” sites. Intervention sites used Fridge-tag and Vaxtag and a modified temperature control record sheet, while control sites continued with their routine operation with thermometers. All refrigerators in both groups were equipped with downloadable electronic data loggers to record temperatures for reference. Focus group sessions were conducted with participating staff to discuss temperature monitoring, intervention device uses and any other feedback.

Results

Significant discrepancies were observed between thermometer readings and the electronic data loggers in control group. Only four cases out of 173 low and 77 high alarms were confirmed with thermometer reading, all others were missed. All alarms in the intervention group were confirmed. Thermometers are not sufficient to monitor temperatures in refrigerators since they miss the almost all of low and high alarms.

Conclusion

30-day electronic refrigerator temperature loggers (Fridge-tag and Vaxtag) have proven to be an effective tool in providing pharmacists with the information they need to take the necessary actions when there are refrigerator temperature variations.

Kartoglu et al., J Pharma Care Health Sys 2018

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