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Rethinking Vaccine Storage and Handling: Automating CDC Guidance


Trade Shows

28 Jan 2020

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its updated Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit, a significant milestone in efficient and accurate vaccine management. One notable aspect of this update is the recognition of the potential for automation and electronic recording of temperature data monitoring and other manual procedures. Regardless of the temperature at which your vaccine supply is stored, this article explores how and why the CDC's guidance can be automated to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and save time and cost.



Streamlined Temperature Monitoring
Traditional methods of temperature monitoring involve manual checks at regular intervals, which are time-consuming and prone to human error. By adopting automated temperature monitoring solutions, equipped with digital data loggers or IoT-enabled sensors, healthcare providers can ensure continuous real-time monitoring of vaccine storage conditions. These systems instantly alert personnel if temperatures deviate from the optimal range, enabling prompt corrective actions, minimizing the risk of spoilage, and preserving vaccine efficacy.


Electronic Data Recording and Tracking
Manually recording data on paper charts or logs is cumbersome and prone to errors. Embracing electronic data recording allows vaccine providers to leverage digital solutions that automatically capture and store temperature and storage data in real-time. This electronic tracking significantly improves data accuracy, eliminates paperwork, and enables easier retrieval and analysis of historical records. Additionally, electronic systems generate comprehensive reports and analytics, aiding in compliance with regulatory requirements and simplifying audits.

Investing in a reliable monitoring solution is less expensive than replacing vaccines wasted due to the loss of potency that comes from storage at out-of-range temperatures.

The new CDC toolkit specifically recommends a digital data logger for this purpose. These devices provide the most accurate storage unit temperature information, including details on how long a unit has been operating outside the recommended temperature range.


Centralized Monitoring and Remote Access
Manual processes often require physical presence at vaccine storage locations, limiting the ability to monitor multiple sites simultaneously. Automated systems enable centralized monitoring and remote access to temperature data, allowing healthcare providers to oversee vaccine storage conditions across various locations from a single software interface. This capability enhances monitoring efficiency, minimizes the need for onsite visits, and empowers swift decision-making based on real-time data. It is important to decide whether independent software or a website program works best for your facility when reviewing digital data logger data critical for vaccine viability.


Real-Time Alerts and Notifications
In the CDC's manual approach, detecting temperature excursions and addressing issues in a timely manner heavily relied on manual checks and vigilance. Automated solutions, such as elproCLOUD monitoring software, provide real-time alerts and notifications via SMS, email, or mobile applications, instantly notifying designated personnel of critical temperature variations or equipment failures. These notifications ensure that appropriate actions can be taken promptly, reducing the risk of temperature fluctuations and preserving the integrity of vaccines.


Predictive Analytics and Preventive Maintenance
Manual processes may lack the ability to proactively identify potential issues and address them before they escalate. Automated systems equipped with predictive analytics can analyze temperature trends and patterns to forecast potential problems, such as equipment malfunctions or storage inconsistencies.

Reviewing data is critical for vaccine viability, so it is important to decide whether an on premise solution or a cloud-based application works best for your facility.

By detecting these issues in advance, preventive maintenance can be scheduled, reducing the risk of vaccine spoilage and costly repairs. You should conduct calibration testing every 1 to 2 years or according to the manufacturer's suggested timeline.


Compliance and Audit Support
Meeting regulatory requirements and maintaining accurate records can be challenging with manual processes. By ensuring compliance with the FDA 21 CFR Part 11 requirements, companies can maintain the authenticity, integrity, and, when appropriate, the confidentiality of their data. Automation simplifies compliance by capturing and storing temperature data electronically, providing a verifiable and auditable trail. Digital systems can generate reports with detailed historical data, facilitating compliance audits and simplifying regulatory reporting, saving time and effort for healthcare providers.


Cost and Time Savings
The automation of vaccine storage and handling processes offers significant cost and time savings. By eliminating the need for manual temperature checks and data recording, healthcare providers can allocate staff resources to more critical tasks. Additionally, automated systems reduce the risk of vaccine spoilage due to human error or delayed response, saving costs associated with wasted vaccines. The ability to remotely monitor multiple storage sites further optimizes resource allocation and reduces travel costs.


The CDC's new guidance acknowledges the potential for automation and electronic recording to improve efficiency, accuracy, and cost savings in vaccine management. By embracing this approach, healthcare providers can streamline temperature monitoring, enhance data accuracy, centralize monitoring efforts, and receive real-time alerts and notifications. Furthermore, automation facilitates predictive analytics, preventive maintenance, and simplifies compliance and audit processes. Ultimately, these advancements save time, costs, and contribute to safeguarding the integrity and efficacy of vaccines, thus protecting public health.