18 Jan Why Temperature Data Loggers Fall Short for Medical Logistics
How many of us remember the days of wanting to make, or receive, a phone call but had to be physically attached to the kitchen phone? It was a neat little device: a rectangular box with a plastic dial. Around the inner circumference were numbers and we’d slip our finger into one of ten spaces; seven times (or 10 for out-of-state calls or even more for overseas calls) and slowly, carefully, drag to the stopper before releasing and proceeding to the next number. If you made an error or your finger slipped before the stopper, you’d have to press down a plunger and restart from the beginning.
There were numerous constrictions with early phones. For example, throughout the duration of the call, you’d have to remain within 5-10 feet of the wall-attached box; often untangling the cord to release tension.
“Houston, we have a problem! Please call us back at your earliest convenience”
One of the early tools to help alleviate some of these constrictions came with the introduction of answering machines. Time travel meets interpersonal conversations. Prior to their entrance on the communications stage, a caller would either have to leave a message with a separate person (remember, the old game of “Telephone” originated here), or not at all. At first, these new machines were simple devices where a call recipient would be able to have callers leave voice messages to a cassette tape to be heard sometime in the future. It was the best thing to come along since two tin cans and a string. Well, almost.
The messages were linear so that multiple messages could not be rearranged. Someone could not delete one or two messages in the line of messages without deleting every message. It was an inconvenient annoyance. “Finally”, this problem was solved with the migration to digital answering machines where memory chips were used to store messages. Now, each message could be deleted, or saved, on a case-by-case basis.
Press ONE for this or Press TWO for that
A few decades later, the push-button phone arrived and Whew-hoo! No more dragging that finger. Accuracy increased! Nevermind that the proximity requirement remained. And, even another benefit to push buttons surfaced. Suddenly, automated voice systems started popping up for businesses. Conveniently, businesses were able to route calls automatically to appropriate departments by having a recording answer the calls instructing callers to press a button for one department or a different button for another department. Of course, within a few years these led to infinite loops of button-pushing hell, but let’s not digress from the point that automation was productive.
Mobile Devices are Everywhere
Then, the early 21st century arrived. Cell phones entered our plane of existence. Almost overnight, anyone could call and message anyone else. Immediacy was solved. Proximity was solved. Portability was solved. In fact, everyone had the equivalent of a Federation communicator and tricorder in their hands wherever they happened to be. A whole bunch of logistical nightmares: solved.
So, what does all of this have to do with temperature data loggers and medical logistics? With current technology, real time temperature monitoring has left data loggers in the dusty past. Human error is reduced. Sliding “one’s finger” to set the data logger and extract the data, every time, is obsolete.
Should I call, text, or email?
Lab Sensor Solutions’ bluetooth sensors, combined with common, everyday iOS or Android cell phones, communicate location and temperature automatically. Whenever human intervention is required, even for basic and repetitive tasks, there’s error. As described in a study about Human Error, there’s a significant chance for human error even in reading an indicator light. Beyond entering a username and password into an app, no special skills are needed and no human intervention is needed.
Real Time is Where It’s At
Just as cellphones revolutionized person-to-person and person-to group conversations, so have real time monitoring sensors which communicate all data to a secure website in the internet cloud. Alerts of temperature excursions can be sent to one individual, or a group, easily configurable by a dispatcher or administrator. And, with better technology comes reduced costs. Temperature sensors are significantly cheaper than yesterday’s data loggers. In 5 Advantages of Real Time Temperature Monitoring, we discuss some of the advantages of our sensors over data loggers.
Just as the tools for conversing have come a long way in just a few years, so have the tools for monitoring, graphing, and analyzing the data obtained. See free data analysis tools for just some of today’s available tools.
If your organization is still using old time data loggers to monitor temperature for all of your totes, refrigerators, perishable samples, and healthcare logistics, give us a call and we can bring you up-to-date.
Don’t worry, you can still set the phone ringer to be the same sound.