Can modern technologies save time of workers in the overloaded Czech health services?

Modern technology is changing our world, and there is no doubt about it in health care. It is not just about video calls with doctors, but about technologies such as remote patient monitoring, 3D printing, robotics or augmented reality. However, there are also areas, which are not written or talked about much, as they relate more to the background of our health professionals and processes that the patient does not even know that the medical staff provide for them.

However, there is one such process, which has recently been talked about, and that is transport and storage of vaccines at very low temperatures in order not to devalue them. With the current shortage of vaccines against the disease caused by Covid-19, ensuring transport and storage at the right temperature is absolutely essential.

Those who transport or store temperature-sensitive medicines must store them under compliant temperature conditions. The State Institute for Drug Control (SUKL) closely supervises and requires regular temperature readings in refrigerators and freezers where such medicines are stored. The late detection of failure of such an equipment could cause considerable damage, not only financial, but also to the health of citizens, if not known and the drug was applied.

“Our company focuses on solutions in the field of process automation and one of them is monitoring of the cold chain in health care. The whole solution was developed with the aim to minimize manual activities of medical personnel, increase safety of stored drugs in a more frequent and non-interventional way of measurement and, last but not least, allow measurement in any part of the distribution chain”, says Václav Kožený, Director of Sensority.  

This solution consists of a small wireless device, which is placed in a cooling box, and measures the temperature at adjustable intervals. It sends the measured data over a wireless network to Cloud and is then displayed in a web application.  If the temperature gets out of set range specified by the manufacturer or a specific user, selected users are notified by SMS or e-mail and can thus immediately resolve the situation. “All our devices are calibrated and work on batteries with a battery life of several years”, adds Václav Kožený.

All this is possible thanks to utilization of new wireless networks that were built to support devices working in the “Internet of Things”. Thanks to new technologies, the manufacturer, distributor, or recipient can monitor the temperature of the shipment from the moment of collection from the pharmaceutical company, through possible storage in transport, to the doctor who applies the drug or vaccine. All the data are available in real time and in addition to temperature information, other information can be obtained, e.g. humidity or the location of the shipment.

With the advent of such technologies, it will be possible to reduce the working load on medical staff of activities not directly related to patient care, as well as to reduce the risk of devaluation of expensive medicines during transport and storage.