SMART Vaccine Storage Solutions

MinibarRx Medical Refrigerator

Vaccination is widely recognized as a public health triumph. As an example, the measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99% reduction in cases of this highly contagious virus. Still, a study by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) points to reasons for concern in vaccine programs and practices.

The OIG study (2012) revealed that “vaccines stored by 76 percent of the 45 selected providers were exposed to inappropriate temperatures” (p 14), increasing the risk of administering vaccines with reduced potency and efficacy. Additionally, the study found that of the providers reviewed, none met vaccine management requirements in all 10 categories assessed—from temperature monitoring to vaccine ordering and inventory management.

What does this mean for providers, their patients, and the general public? A majority of common vaccines rely on proper cold chain management. The OIG findings underscore the need to implement improved vaccine storage and handling practices. As states move toward increasingly stringent requirements for vaccine providers, guidelines for refrigeration play an important role.

Compliance Requirements

In its January 2016 “Guidelines for Compliance with Federal and State Vaccine Administration Requirement,” for example, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) notes that “effective January 1, 2016, MDPH now requires all pediatric practices . . . to have pharmaceutical grade refrigerators for the primary vaccine storage unit in their facility” (p. 5).

Additionally, the new guidelines state that providers may be required to “make restitution for any doses of federal or state-purchased vaccines that have been wasted due to the provider negligence/mismanagement” (p 3).

Although providers in any practice have differing vaccine storage needs, the CDC recommends pharmaceutical, purpose-built units to maintain required temperature ranges.

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SMART Solutions

The CDC (2014) likens proper vaccine storage to an insurance policy: “Think of your storage equipment as an insurance policy to protect patients’ health and your facility against costly vaccine replacement, inadvertent administration of compromised vaccine, and other consequences” (p. 28).

With a full suite of web-connected SMART tools, MinibarRx provides such protection to deliver peace of mind to health care providers as well as to the patients they serve.

MinibarRx Fully-Automated Features

  • Monitors and logs temperature 24/7/365 to maintain optimal product storage conditions, with automated battery back-up
  • Employs an always-on alarm system with multiple notification modes to facilitate corrective action and reduce inventory loss due to temperature excursions
  • Manages ordering and inventory control to ensure adequate supply while minimizing expired inventory; provides instant dispense/inventory reports
  • Delivers real-time alerts for inventory depletion, product expiration, temperature fluctuation, power failure, battery back-up activation, and other causes of concern
  • Auto-synchronizes with major EMRs to seamlessly update patient records, including manufacturer, expiration, and lot number as well as to whom and when vaccine is dispensed
  • Secures inventory with PIN-based access; supports remote access to historical data monitoring

All providers want to safely ensure the availability of the right vaccine for the right patient at the right time. As one physician noted, “In my busy practice, where high-quality patient care is my focus, MinibarRx simplifies the requirements of maintaining a full inventory of recommended vaccines and biologics while ensuring the strict standards for storage and handling that patient safety demands.”

MinibarRX is available immediately in the Mid-Atlantic region, with the remainder of the U.S. to launch over the next 6–9 months, and overseas in 2017. MinibarRX is brought to you by Minibar Systems, the world’s largest manufacturer of SMART refrigerators, serving over 50 countries. To find out more or schedule a demo contact us.


References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. Hamborsky J, Kroger A, Wolfe S, eds. 13th ed. Washington D.C. Public Health Foundation, 2015.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine Storage & Handling Toolkit. May 2014.

Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. Vaccines for Children Program: Vulnerabilities in Vaccine Management. Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General. June 2012.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Division of Epidemiology and Immunization Vaccines for Children Program (VFC). Guidelines for Compliance with
Federal and State Vaccine Administration Requirement. January 2016.


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