There are many pitfalls of manual environmental monitoring and documentation, including eating up staff bandwidth and risking falling out of compliance due to human error. But what can your facility do to better handle this data? Enter networked and IoT environmental sensors.
The Internet of Things is proving increasingly important for both the present and the future of healthcare. IoT technology is already being used in healthcare facilities for asset management and environmental monitoring, but the capacity of IoT technology has so far just scratched the surface of what promises to be a truly smart network of buildings and systems in our near future.
The Future of IoT Technology
Recent developments in IoT technologies have enabled connections of buildings, people, IoT sensors, equipment, and information in an instant. This creates troves of “big data” that provide massive amounts of information to facilities managers, technical and operations staff, and organizational executives. Decisions can be made quickly based on these data sets, creating building spaces tailored to occupants’ usage and needs.
But as the IoT continues apace, the rise of artificial intelligence will begin to enable these devices and systems to make decisions and adjust controls automatically, based on data captured about the spaces and information known about their occupants.
The Critical Nature of Environmental Monitoring
Environmental monitoring is a crucial aspect of facilities management for quality healthcare delivery, with myriad examples throughout industry and academic reviews on the subject:
A recent literature review on 50 years of thermal comfort studies concluded that quality indoor air environments are important for the well-being of both patients and professionals in healthcare settings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought pressure differential in hospital rooms into public consciousness. Being able to monitor and control these pressure differentials is vital to patient health.
Detection of water intrusion is also a concern, given the potential for water leaks to foster mold or fungus growth that can harm patient health as well as threaten “deterioration of building components.”
The Role of IoT and Networked Systems
Environmental monitoring is made easier and more occupant-friendly by continuing technology developments, and the AI-based future of IoT technology will be an important step in further improving environmental monitoring in healthcare facilities. Enhanced ability to capture real-time data and aggregate it across spaces will contribute to a better understanding of buildings, spaces, and the people who use them. Meanwhile, the “smart” learning elements of AI technology will lead to entire healthcare facilities able to quickly learn occupant needs and adjust environmental controls accordingly. The technology will also alert facility managers and nearby staff to door-closure issues, water intrusions, or pressure or temperature concerns that may pose a threat to patients, vaccines, and other medical assets.
In addition to the rapid response provided by AI embedded into systems, automating some of these environmental monitoring processes can ease the burden of documentation on staff and reduce human error. In doing so, it will free up valuable staff resources for other vital tasks and enhancing efficiency throughout a facility, and help your facility maintain proper compliance records should an audit ever occur.
Primex OneVue Equips Healthcare Facilities for a Smarter Future
The suite of Primex products includes a diverse lineup of OneVue Sense monitors: networked temperature sensors, as well as sensors to monitor water leaks, humidity, differential pressure, and contact closure. These automated instruments will help your healthcare facility optimize its environmental monitoring for asset management as well as occupant health and comfort. OneVue Monitor software, hosted in a cloud that enhances both security and wherever-you-are access, aggregates environmental monitoring data from the networked sensors throughout a facility, enabling quick access to information on facility spaces and enabling reporting for building awareness and regulatory compliance.
The future of facility management is becoming more dependent on integrated systems. This is evident in campuses’ connectivity with the Internet of Things and all of the information, data, and resources available through both formal and informal sources. Quick, reliable, and official time displays and information management are key to ensuring occupant safety and well-being.
Time synchronization plays an important role in meeting facility compliance requirements, tracking patient care, reviewing incidents and is crucial to safety when seconds can define the outcome of critical situations. Synchronized and centralized time-tracking systems can help move occupants efficiently, distribute information promptly, and review a sequence of events accurately. That capacity will become increasingly important as new challenges shape facility management.
Plan for Time and Data Display Preparedness
There are many factors to consider when preparing your facility for the increasing demand for information management. A central component to an efficient campus or facility is the functionality of its time displays and how adaptable that system is to changing needs. A few questions can help you and your staff start to create a baseline for current capacity and identify where your system might need an upgrade:
How reactive is your time and information system in emergency situations?
How reliable is the time tracking you currently use?
Can you identify potential downtime?
How often do time tracking issues arise?
Are there any capital improvements scheduled?
What level of satisfaction do occupants have with current information sources?
How much staff time is allocated to time and information system maintenance?
Are there any future capacity needs your system will need to meet?
Once your facility management team has performed a general assessment of your time and data system, you can take that information and audit the devices and technology currently in use. Create or update the system overview to document the types of devices installed. Be sure to include the specific details on each device — such as wireless, hardwired, analog, digital, etc. — and the location within your facility.
This process will reveal your current system’s efficiency and effectiveness and identify if that system matches future time display and information board demands.
Time for a New Display System?
If your current time display system proves insufficient for current or future facility requirements, several options can be considered to transition to a more modern one. Systems like Primex OneVue Sync™ can provide a variety of solutions to meet your facility and occupants’ requirements. OneVue Sync options include synchronized clocks in analog and digital formats.
The PrimexOneVue Notify™ InfoBoard™ provides a digital clock’s capabilities with the added benefit of visual notifications, ideal for emergencies or facilities with high noise levels. The displays are easily installed and provide fast, effective notifications that can be seen institutionwide or different, customized messages per location. All of the devices are connected and can be controlled centrally to provide unified timekeeping and consistent messaging throughout a campus or facility.
All of the displays can meet various system requirements by offering three technologies that fit almost any application and installation setting. These include PoE (Power over Ethernet), radiofrequency through transmitter, and Bluetooth connections. All OneVue Sync options work with the OneVue Monitor™ system to manage settings, monitor device health, and maintain unified timekeeping.
OneVue Monitor for Future Timekeeping
A number of trends in facility management make modern time display and information boards a valuable asset for managers and occupants. As campuses and workplaces evolve, the amenities, occupants, and facility needs will require consistent, reliable systems that are versatile and user-friendly.
The growing expectations on facility and campus technology are to oversee and monitor all aspects of information resources, emergency notifications, environmental quality, occupancy information, and even transit data. For facility managers looking towards the future, Primex OneVue Sync, Notify, and Monitor solutions provide comprehensive time display and communication capabilities.
Maintaining a detailed record of the temperature of your facility’s cold storage units has never been more important — and the pitfalls of manual logging techniques have never been more apparent. Learn how to upgrade your logging system in this article.
Healthcare facilities and hospitals had a challenging 2020, and many organizations have taken or are taking the opportunity to assess the efficiency of their operations from the lessons learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. One universal element is the management of cold storage assets that house vaccines, medications, samples, and testing materials. This article takes a look at how your facility can take a focused approach to the role refrigeration temperature logs play in patient care and how to streamline asset management for more effective operations.
When to Upgrade from Manual Temperature Logging
Manual temperature logging has been a necessary step when automated systems are absent. However, manual methods create the potential for user error, unrecorded events, and inconsistent reporting. Today’s regulatory standards for medication, vaccine, and other temperature-sensitive asset management have become more stringent than what manual logging can provide.
Hospitals have to comply with federal, state, and local standards as well as manufacturer specifications and an ever-changing landscape of research and protocols. As soon as temperature-sensitive assets are received by a hospital, the monitoring efforts for temperature control, inventory management, and storage monitoring must be tracked. Without automated monitoring, facilities run the risk of issues such as untracked equipment failure or compromised medication efficacy. For example, epinephrine can lose up to 64% of their efficacy if exposed to repeated heating and cooling brought about by an unregulated refrigeration unit — potentially putting patients suffering from anaphylaxis in grave danger. Furthermore, medications such as Pfizer BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is stored at temperatures far below freezing, and once thawed above 45 °F (8 °C) cannot be re-frozen for later use, meaning that an out-of-range refrigeration unit could potentially make critical doses of the vaccine unusable.
Regulatory protocols require that the conditions for medications and vaccines — including temperature, access, and duration of storage — need to be monitored and documented. Where manual logging requires dedicated staff time, automated monitoring can consistently track temperature, monitor access, and store the information to create compliance reports as needed.
Hospitals can learn from the lessons of 2020 and implement strategies that will improve operations and patient care. The role of asset management and refrigeration temperature logging will only become more critical as new COVID-19 treatments and vaccines become part of hospital regimens.
Regardless of your facility’s treatment focus, creating a refrigeration temperature-control strategy and defining the protocols for cold asset management are useful measures to modernize and streamline resources. Automated monitoring systems can free up valuable staff time, increase compliance, and support better patient care by ensuring the integrity of medication, vaccines, and medical devices.
Automated Refrigeration Monitoring Solutions for Your Facility
Primex OneVue Sense provides monitoring solutions that can help track refrigeration conditions with precision. When combined with theOneVue Monitor software, the sensors are part of an integrated monitoring system customized to capture the information you need and create on-demand reports. This capability eliminates the need for manual recording while still maintaining accurate records and the ability to demonstrate policy or regulatory compliance.
OneVuetemperature and humidity sensors allow environmental conditions to be monitored and for data to be recorded for easy access through the Primex OneVue Monitor system. Easily installed as needed throughout a facility, these sensors feature audible and visible alerts. When connected to the OneVue Monitor network, they can provide alerts by email, text, or phone if conditions fall beyond set parameters.
The Primex OneVue Sense options include temperature sensors with a temperature probe or thermobuffers for targeted monitoring, or temperature and humidity sensors. Each option provides additional versatility to help temperature and humidity monitoring goals. Each sensor unit is portable and can be moved to a different location to meet changing demands according to hospital needs. They are available with battery, AC, or Power over Ethernet (POE) power options to ensure data security during network or power outages.
The United States Pharmacopeia guidelines call for specific temperature conditions that ensure the integrity and efficacy of medications and vaccines. Both adhering to USP controlled room temperature requirements and documenting any fluctuations is crucial to compliance, and you can learn how to do so with ease in this article.
A proactive approach to maintaining optimal room temperatures will help your facility stay compliant with the pharmaceutical regulatory requirements in pharmacy, laboratory, and hospital settings. The USP guidelines call for specific temperature conditions that ensure the integrity and efficacy of medications, vaccines, and other vital assets. Climate control also plays an integral role in testing accuracy and keeping samples free of contamination.
With a clear strategy and the right tools, your team can create an effective plan that meets requirements and helps ensure your critical assets are protected. Here’s how:
Understanding USP Guidelines
The USP sets public standards that intend to ensure the quality, safety, and benefit of medicines and foods. The primary USP controlled room standard for facilities to understand is USP 797, which specifies that clean rooms should be kept at a temperature of 68 °F (20 °C) or below, however, full compliance depends on the type of facility.
Pharmacies, laboratories, and hospitals all have similar responsibilities when it comes to pharmaceuticals. However, the type of medications used within a facility can vary greatly. For example, oncology treatment centers will have different requirements than a typical neighborhood pharmacy due to the types of medications used, the administration methods of medications, and the disposal of associated medical waste.
Knowing the Primary Concerns and Consequences
The overall aim of USP compliance is to contribute to patient safety. The millions of medications created on annual basis in the U.S. include oral, subcutaneous, intravenous, and those directly injected for localized treatment, as in the eye or spine. Complying with standards such as the USP guidelines provides assurance that patients receive medications of the correct potency and free of contamination. A guiding principle for climate control is that patient safety is the primary concern.
Steps to Maintain USP Controlled Room Temperature Compliance
As with any component of facility operations, there are several steps to take towards a focused USP controlled room temperature strategy. Your team will want to assess everything that plays a part in climate control, including the temperature and humidity parameters set by regulations and the measures available to monitor conditions.
Your strategy should cover the following topics:
Temperature and humidity range for all room types. For example, the USP 659 guidelines include specific ranges and definitions of room types including: cold (not exceeding 46 °F or 8°C), cool (between 46 - 59 °F or 8 – 15 °C), warm (between 86 – 104 °F or 30 – 40 °C), and excessive (above 104 °F or 40 °C).
Survey of the climate control systems in your facility. Work with the facilities manager to identify all of the relevant climate control systems and components. This should include equipment, condition, maintenance schedules, and any necessary upgrades.
Methods and tools for climate monitoring. This step is especially useful to help identify monitoring and documentation methods, responsible personnel, training programs, and any inefficiencies that can be improved upon by migrating to an automated documentation system.
Protocols for managing temperature and humidity irregularities. Map out the parameters for different climate requirements, how those settings are controlled, and which staff oversees the response to any changes that could affect program goals.
Schedule of system checks and guideline updates. When all of the systems, personnel, and propoer climate settings are identified it is crucial to create a resource that keep track of monitoring activities, establishes regular monitoring documentation schedule, and includes a communications protocol that allows the most current information and regulations to be implemented in your facility.
Once you’ve established a clear strategy, each component can be assigned to a dedicated team member who will be responsible for its maintenance. These team members can then manage the relevant goals and tools to ensure compliance.
In order to keep your strategy on track, it’s important to create detailed protocols for each of the topics. These should cover the responsible staff, the current resources available, and timeframes for all required maintenance and monitoring.
Defining Your Toolkit
Within your facility strategy, the methods and measures available to staff to help track USP controlled room temperature include tools for climate monitoring and documentation. The Primex OneVue Sense system provides the climate monitoring tools that are crucial to track USP controlled room temperature. Combined with a clear strategy that outlines environmental conditions, OneVue offers a variety of temperature and humidity sensors to monitor the ambient climate as well as targeted temperature storage settings. The OneVue Monitor software then logs changes that could put your USP controlled room temperature compliance at risk and can automatically alert the relevant stakeholders to when temperatures fall above or below a certain range. This makes both documenting and resolving any errors as seamless as possible.
Whether your facility is preparing for increased patient volume or new medications and vaccines, the ability to stay compliant and keep staff and patients safe is well within reach. Learn more about how automated monitoring systems can help you with USP controlled room temperature compliance by reaching out to a Primex representative today!
2021 promises major changes in healthcare policies and operations, technology development, and more. This article discusses some of the trends expected in hospital facilities in the coming year, and how Primex can help navigate the new landscape.
Facilities management is a rapidly growing industry, with companies investing greater attention to ensuring their facilities are meeting the latest benchmarks for efficiency, productivity, and return on investment. This growth is echoed in the healthcare industry where, despite many competing demands for resources, the operation and performance of facilities are under intense scrutiny. Healthcare executives are looking to see data and network access lead to operational efficiencies and performance improvements.
2021 promises major changes in healthcare policies and operations, technology development, and more. Below are some of the trends to look out for in health facilities management.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
Health facilities, like many other large and complex campuses, are becoming increasingly technologically integrated and “smart,” as the IoT connects devices and buildings in new and exciting ways. Staff, patients, and visitors are all increasingly tech-savvy and linked to such smart networks throughout their day. Hospital facilities will be expected to keep pace with these users through IoT deployment and support for this development technology. From mobile check-in and screening questionnaires to occupancy sensors triggering lighting and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning controls, and rapid monitoring of facility usage and performance — IoT linkages will increasingly become the norm for hospital facility management, in 2021 and beyond.
Continued Physical Distancing
The rise of physical distancing practices due to COVID-19 transmission concerns was an emerging trend in 2020, and it is expected that this will continue well into 2021 and likely even further into the future. Everything from patient intake to virtual-versus-live appointments and employee workspaces to corridor and waiting room design is likely to be impacted in some way by the need to allow for greater separation between individuals to mitigate the potential for spread of airborne pathogens. Making spaces flexible enough to accommodate these challenges will be important for health facilities management, creating environments that fit many situations and engender trust in those who use them.
Healthcare-Acquired Infections Reduction
The rate of HAI was already trending downward in recent years, but with the increased attentiveness to important spread-reduction practices (such as hand-washing, education, distancing, and enhanced cleaning), some further progress in HAI reduction has already been seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. As vaccines are increasingly available and communities recover from the worst peaks of the pandemic, every effort will be made to ensure HAI spread continues these positive trends.
Improved Alerts for Public Health and Safety Incidents
Public safety has already been an area of increased focus in recent years, but with the heightened awareness of a pandemic has come an even greater need to be able to communicate messages rapidly and simultaneously throughout facilities. This type of instant and widespread messaging is made increasingly feasible due to IoT deployment, and it will likely continue to be relevant and practicable as time goes on.
Primex is prepared to help clients drive forward and tackle these challenges and emerging trends. The OneVue Sense line of products can monitor room temperature and indoor environmental quality conditions, along with the temperature of cold chain assets, such as mRNA-based vaccines. OneVue Notify InfoBoard displays exhibit synchronized time throughout a networked facility and can share custom messages to inform people of safety, public health, weather, or other alerts. And with OneVue Monitor, health facilities managers can track comprehensive monitoring data and generate reports to demonstrate compliance with relevant regulations and standards.
The upcoming year, and those to come, will feature many changes to hospital facility management. Still, the Primex suite of products remains capable of supporting these growing trends and others to come. Reach out today to learn more.
Rapid development of smart technologies is creating an IoT that can provide robust data and operational understanding to the world of facility planning. Understand just how impactful it could be to your next build in this article.
Manual record keeping, occupant notifications, and monitoring of indoor spaces are increasingly giving way to automated systems and processes. Such “smart” systems and technologies, often connecting separate spaces or even buildings over the internet, are becoming a normal part of building and campus operations.
This Internet of Things, the universe of linked devices and the spaces they intertwine, is playing a major role in facility management and planning in the 21st century, and the benefits of the IoT can help facility planners in their goals of achieving operational efficiency, high productivity, informed growth strategies, and occupant satisfaction.
Benefits of IoT in Facility Management
The value of the IoT can be seen in myriad aspects of facility planning and management, from energy management and indoor environmental quality to asset control and overall operational savings. A fully IoT-equipped facility can track building and room occupancy along with temperature and indoor environmental quality, collecting robust datasets that provide insights into which parts of the facility are occupied at certain times and how well the air management system is meeting the comfort and air quality needs of the individuals therein. Beyond the comfort of these occupants, such precise monitoring and management can also result in saved costs, as unused spaces require reduced lighting and conditioning loads.
Particularly pertinent to the events of 2020, vaccine supply chain management, and other cold chain product maintenance can benefit from IoT technology as well, with automated temperature monitoring, which helps to maintain optimal supply efficacy. Maintaining the integrity of this process is important not only for meeting the needs of suppliers and customers (often patients) but also for minimizing the costs associated with assets lost due to inadequate monitoring or potential human error.
An entire network of time and information displays can keep everyone on schedule and fully aware of important updates, such as weather notifications, timed bells, and public health and safety alerts. And on educational campuses, where students are arriving already fully versed in the latest technologies and trends, such connected systems are responsive to their educational technology and needs.
Facility Planning in an IoT Future
The sheer volume of customization and data available through modern connected technology is stunning, and future developments promise to enhance this even further. Facility planners are now able to make use of this data to better understand facility usage in rapid fashion, enabling the kind of building- and campus-awareness that can inform many important functions.
Daily and weekly facility usage and understanding of temperature trends can enable rapid adjustments to short-term trends, supporting an agile monthly facility planning that provides energy and cost savings as well as optimized campus performance. By reading weekly and monthly trends in space usage and system performance, annual operational budgeting can be leaner and more precise, offering more dialed-in projections for the year. And longer-term growth strategies are improved as building usage is better understood and as widespread campus needs are based less on conjecture and more on accurate data taken by these “smart” technologies embedded within the campus itself.
And as the IoT further evolves in the future, developments like improved “smart” technology and artificial intelligence will provide greater linkages between users and facility planners. This is expected to allow for such improvements as environments immediately responsive to users, instantaneous feedback mechanisms driving data and performance, and facility-wide communication allowing for rapid performance optimization throughout multi-building campuses.
The future of facility planning is certain to be guided by technological developments, and by embracing these technological systems and incorporating them throughout buildings and campuses, planners can ensure that they are steering the ship based on what they learn rather than on being blown about by the winds of technological change. Smart campuses and IoT-connected facilities will allow planners to fully understand the spaces they manage, adapt quickly to any changes that arise, embed efficiencies into their systems, and drive excellence in building usage, budget control, and occupant comfort and well-being.
How do you set the standard for comfort? In many cases, personal comfort is subjective and based on individual preference. When it comes to a person’s physical environment, a variety of factors may influence overall comfort, including temperature, humidity, and ventilation.
In a healthcare setting, patient comfort and safety are top priorities. But just as important as protecting patients is keeping the staff comfortable to ensure productivity and efficiency. When it comes to maintaining comfort for these two groups, hospital temperature plays a key role. According to the journalEnergy and Buildings, “the thermal environment affects both physical and psychological health.”
Challenges of Identifying the Ideal Hospital Temperature
Hospitals offer a unique environment with a diverse population of patients and employees. In fact, Intelligent Buildings International reported that general hospitals “house 39 different function groups for inpatient care, treatment, diagnostics and supporting facilities.” Due to variations in preferences and health status, each group has different requirements for comfort.
According to ASHRAE Transactions, addressing the complexities of thermal comfort in hospitals involves analyzing the industry standard and the unique factors of hospital occupants. For example, the journal noted that the “ASHRAE thermal comfort standard (ASHRAE 2017a) requires a set of environmental and personal factors that depend on the occupants’ activity levels and clothing insulation.”
Consider two examples that illustrate the importance of hospital temperature:
In 2018, a maternity ward in a hospital in Kent, England, experienced an unexpected temperature drop so low that all babies were at risk for developing hypothermia.
When determining what the correct temperature should be of a given space, consider the unique health and circumstances of the patients and staff occupying that hospital room or area, and try to strike a balance. Consider the following factors:
Heat: In general, higher indoor air temperatures can cause discomfort. For example, patients with chronic conditions, including diabetes, respiratory diseases, epilepsy, and cardiovascular/cerebrovascular diseases, tend to be more sensitive to heat. In addition, hospital staff tend to “experience more warmth than patients.”
Occupant status: Intelligent Buildings International also revealed that patients accepted “larger temperature differences compared to visitors and staff.” The journal noted that “differences in role and the duration of stay” impacted the varying thermal comfort needs of patients and staff.
Changing seasons: Several studies within the Intelligent Buildings International literature review revealed that both patients and hospital staff were more satisfied with the indoor air temperature in summer than in winter.
Temperature Ranges for Patient Comfort, Staff Efficiency
Cool temperature standards (68 °F to 73 °F (20 °C to 23 °C)) are typically associated with operating rooms, endoscopy suites, and clean workrooms.
Warmer temperatures (75° F (24° C)) are recommended in areas that require greater degrees of patient comfort. For example, warmer temperatures are usually preferred in hospital patient rooms and delivery rooms.
A standard temperature rangeof 70 °F to 75 °F (21 °C to 24 °C) can be used in most other healthcare zones.
In some cases, flexibility is needed to ensure thermal comfort and safety. According to the CDC “temperatures outside of these ranges may be needed occasionally in limited areas depending on individual circumstances during patient care.” For example, cooler temperatures may be required in operating rooms where specialized operations are being performed.
Tool for Hospital Temperature Monitoring
To ensure the comfort, safety, and satisfaction of your patients and staff, it is important to accurately monitor hospital temperatures. Temperature sensors within the Primex OneVue Sense system allow you to measure room and storage unit temperature alike — keeping patients comfortable and assets safe. If the temperature within a certain area leaves a custom, specified range, the system provides local audible and visual alarms. You can also choose to receive mobile alerts so you can respond to temperature fluctuations and make adjustments as needed — before patient comfort is compromised.
FDA inspection readiness should be at the top of your organizational priorities whether your facility is responding to a market shift or looking to refocus on operational standards. So how can you ensure your facility is compliant? Here’s how to get started.
The current pandemic has created an urgency for different types of pharmaceutical companies to adapt quickly to the demand for vaccines and treatments to help fight COVID-19. Regardless of whether your facility is responding to that market shift or looking to refocus on operational standards, preparedness for inspections by the Food and Drug Administration should be at the top of your organizational priorities.
The FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) leads inspections and the enforcement of laboratory conditions that fall under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and related acts. The ORA uses FDA Form 483 to document observations of preparation, packaging, or storage that may be unsafe and in violation of the FDA’s requirements. Understanding how to stay compliant and limit the potential to receive citations via Form 483 is well within your control.
Where to Focus: Common Citation Areas
There are many resources available to you to help keep your facility ready for an FDA inspection. The FDA provides compliance guidelines and examples of actual inspections online that identify common deficiencies leading to FDA Form 483 citations. Among these, Drug Quality Assurance is frequently documented in pharmaceutical laboratory inspections.
Keeping current on GxP and Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) is a key element in demonstrating Drug Quality Assurance. In your facility, it’s critical to dedicate staff resources to maintaining and communicating updates to cGMP that affect your operations. These can be complex, but having oversight of requirements and investing in proper monitoring tools can ensure compliance and help avoid FDA violations.
Staying Prepared: FDA Inspection Checklist
Just as guidelines and Form 483 examples are available, there are also resources to help your facility create a general inspection checklist. This step allows your staff to stay organized around central areas that are likely to be checked and possibly documented for violations. There are many details behind each category; however, at minimum your staff can create a general checklist with the following headings:
General quality assurance controls and procedures
Facility controls and security
Equipment design and placement
Material component control
Finished product control
Details and Documentation
For each category of possible inspection, staff can outline the measures needed to ensure compliance. These can relate to the current FDA and other guidelines, and also include specific timeframe, frequency, documentation, and reporting requirements. With the checklist, it’s possible to prepare for inspection in advance by making sure the proper tools and resources are in place, active, and set to correct parameters for monitoring laboratory spaces, storage areas, and other activities.
For documentation and reporting, an automated monitoring system such as Primex OneVue can assist with monitoring temperature, humidity, and other environmental conditions. Additionally, contact closure sensors can help keep track of access to restricted areas and storage units.
Empowering Staff With the Right Tools
As part of your facility’s FDA inspection readiness, it’s essential to survey the requirements against your monitoring resources. Making sure you have an overview of the requirements and the ability to meet them is key to compliance readiness. Primex OneVue MonitorTM simplifies administration and monitoring by keeping comprehensive data and providing automated on-demand reports to demonstrate compliance. The software meets FDA requirements, can be programmed to provide custom alerts, and provides a secure system with minimal IT demand.
High-quality cold chain management is essential for vaccine storage and delivery. Whether protecting patient health, minimizing product degradation and financial loss, or maintaining public confidence, keeping vaccines within precise conditions is of the utmost importance. Ensuring consistent environmental conditions allows healthcare providers to issue lifesaving vaccines to their patients with full confidence of each vaccine’s integrity and efficacy.
Furthermore, the current efforts to deliver COVID-19 vaccines globally have put this process under increased focus due to mRNA-based vaccines requiring extreme cold storage until just before delivery. A reliable temperature management and tracking system is a vital component of any cold chain process at the storage stage, and this will be the case for COVID-19 vaccines as well in the coming months and years.
What can your facility do to be prepared to optimize cold chain management and monitoring? Read on to find out.
Poor Cold Chain Management is a Threat to Proper Vaccine Delivery
From the moment a drug or vaccine arrives at a hospital, pharmacy, or healthcare facility, that location bears responsibility for maintaining the cargo’s quality until it can be delivered to patients. Proper refrigerated and cryogenic storage helps to keep vaccines within the recommended range of conditions, avoiding a break in the cold chain that could mean additional costs to the hospital, lost doses for patients or additional doses if they received a vaccine with reduced efficacy, and lowered public confidence.
Vaccines are sensitive to both light and temperature, and the loss of potency from variances in these factors cannot be regained, so ensuring proper storage parameters is vital to keeping these supplies in peak condition.
Poor refrigeration equipment can compromise a temperature-sensitive drug’s potency, but other threats exist as well. Loss of power, even temporary, presents not just a risk to medical equipment throughout a facility, but also to temperature maintenance for medications. A lack of proper data tracking and logging costs confidence in the integrity of any medications stored in refrigeration, as medical professionals must be certain they are delivering medications and vaccines that have been properly stored throughout their time in the facility. Furthermore, thermometers that fail to maintain both accurate and precise temperature measurements may lead to an inaccurate record of a supply’s time spent in the facility, undermining full knowledge of its condition upon delivery to a patient.
Thus, proper cold chain management requires not just adequate refrigeration or freezing equipment, but also staff training, general facility integrity, and the ability to accurately monitor refrigerated spaces to ensure that vaccines are kept at required temperatures to maintain effectiveness.
Optimizing Your Cold Chain Monitoring System
In their Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies multiple important factors for cold chain management in vaccine storage and delivery. Among other essential items, the CDC recommends a temperature monitoring device that can:
Track temperature precisely
Send alerts for values above or below the desired temperature range for vaccines and medications stored within a specific unit
Log data digitally to reduce labor and potential errors associated with manual entry
An ideal temperature monitoring system will also use a probe suspended in a thermobuffer medium that can simulate the thermal mass of a vaccine, as brief temperature changes from opening and closing refrigerator/freezer doors might lead to fluctuations in the air that aren’t reflected in enclosed solutions. And the entire cold chain monitoring system should be powered by a backup power source so that temporary loss of power does not threaten temperature tracking and data logging.
Primex OneVue Temperature Sensor Meets Your Cold Chain Vaccine Storage Needs
The Primex OneVue SenseTM Temperature Sensor measures temperature within 1.0 ˚F (0.5 ˚C) accuracy and uses a calibrated probe — that meets National Institute of Standards and Technology standards —suspended in a thermobuffer (glycol or wax), and can send notifications (audible, email, or text) to warn of any temperature excursions outside the recommended range. The sensor contains a battery backup with a low-battery indicator and can log data at 30-minute intervals, per World Health Organization and CDC recommendations. Standard probes have an operating range of -104 °F to 221 °F (-40 ˚C to 105 ˚C), suitable for most vaccines and medications. Cryogenic probes can handle a range of -328 ˚F to 302 ˚F (-200 ˚C to 150 ˚C), well beyond even the increased range demanded by some early mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines. OneVue Sense reports can be generated from desktop or mobile devices, allowing for on-demand demonstration of regulatory compliance.
In any laboratory, it’s the results that matter. But not adhering to temperature and humidity requirements can put your results and the reputation of your facility on the line. Read on to learn more about how to effectively monitor the environment of your lab to maintain regulatory compliance.
When temperature and humidity aren’t monitored and appropriately documented, it can bring a lab’s entire body of work into question, affect future funding, and lead to distrust and morale challenges among the lab teams and their oversight personnel. By carefully monitoring temperature and humidity, every team and company will have the data they need to back their results. Plus, accurate temperature and humidity monitoring requirements help to avoid any future distraction over the validity and reliability of test results.
Ideal Laboratory Temperature and Humidity Conditions
Temperature and humidity are just two factors that need to be upheld to avoid scrutiny, contamination, comfort for personnel, and maintain a positive safety culture.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory guidelines outline an optimal temperature for labs as being between 68 °F and 77 °F (20 °C and 25 °C) with humidity levels somewhere between 30% and 50%. These two factors are vital to every laboratory environment for countless reasons, not the least of which is quality control. Improper temperature and humidity controls can lead to the following:
With 7 billion clinical lab tests performed each year in the U.S. alone, the need for ideal laboratory conditions across all experiments for reliable and trustworthy results is crucial.
Ensure the Efficacy of All Laboratory Results
When you can show measured consistency for temperature and humidity throughout all laboratory work phases, you’ll face fewer questions about the results, and you’ll have more competitive accuracy and uncertainty ratios.
Laboratory work should always be viewed in context of the entire lab setting to ensure the safety and efficacy of experiments. Therefore, all laboratory personnel should have a clear understanding of their laboratory environmental controls, capabilities and limitations, and how to use them properly.
To that end, every facility should have a climate control strategy, complete with climate goals informed by the Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and other oversight organizations, depending upon the work.
How to Create a Temperature and Humidity Compliance Strategy
By creating a plan for climate and ventilation and including all personnel involved, you craft a blueprint for achievable goals for all experiments as well as fail-safes, such as how to respond to, overcome, and resolve any issues or malfunctions. Here’s how to get started:
Outline the work being completed along with the temperature controls necessary for consistent results
Include lower and higher temperature tolerance levels according to the work and the laboratory
List the tools and equipment in the laboratory that require the maintenance of temperature and humidity for proper functioning and measurements
Install a reliable monitoring system to ensure you have the data needed to report the results of experimental work
Create an operational process for monitoring and evaluating lab conditions, including temperature and humidity, along with a response plan for malfunctions
Primex OneVue Can Help
Crafting a plan and installing the right climate control equipment is only half the battle. Maintenance and monitoring are the only way to ensure the validity and reliability of results ongoing.
Monitoring all critical variables, including temperature and humidity, is vital. You need to evaluate fluctuations and know when there is a problem so you can respond swiftly. The best way to do this is with the right monitoring solutions. By installing reliable automated monitoring equipment such as the OneVue Sense suite of environmental sensors and OneView Monitor recordkeeping software, you’ll have access to historical data with reports on fluctuations, thresholds that were and were not met, and ideally, you’ll be able to use these insights to link the data to causes.
Minimizing risk of inaccurate lab results and quickly determining the cause of problematic temperature and humidity fluctuations requires an active mindset. Create a plan that all personnel are aware of and participate in to some degree, and you’ll find you have an empowered team with insights and achievements that lead the way in your industry.
A comprehensive pharmacy compliance strategy is the best practice to ensure your facility is able to contribute to the health and safety of your community. So, where do you begin and what tools are at your disposal to make compliance easier? Learn more in this article.
Pharmacies play an important role in the public’s health and safety by providing assurance that medications are tracked, stored, and dispensed properly. State and federal regulations create a framework for pharmacy compliance that aims to protect both patients and workers. As a pharmaceutical industry professional, knowing the laws and agencies that apply to your facility is a top priority. Incorporating that knowledge into a comprehensive compliance strategy is the best practice towards maintaining pharmacy compliance — here’s how.
What to Know about FDA and DEA Requirements
Two federal laws are central to the pharmaceutical industry and address the safety of controlled substances throughout the supply chain. These laws are resources that should be included in your facility’s compliance references. They are the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) enforced by the Food and Drug Administration, and the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), enforced by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
FDA: The Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA)
The DSCSA was enacted in 2013 to identify all substances regulated under existing federal law into one of five schedules based on medical use, potential for abuse, and safety or dependence liability. The DSCSA ensures the integrity of the U.S. drug supply and outlines the requirements that pharmacies must follow in order to protect patients. This law mandates confirmation of licensing and registration, product tracing documentation, and response to illegitimate prescription medications.
DEA: The Controlled Substances Act (CSA)
The CSA sets the regulations for the handling, storage, and distribution of controlled substances that pass through your pharmacy. Enforced by the DEA, these regulations include transfer and disposal, security related to theft or loss, record keeping, inventory, prescription validity, ordering, and dispensing requirements.
What to Include in Your Pharmacy Compliance Strategy
Keeping compliant and managing pharmacy inventory relies on having the right strategy in place. This should include a few key components that will help ensure staff training, communication, and alignment with current regulations. The specifics of what to include depend on the pharmacy’s location and the types of patients or customers served. Overall, every strategy should include the following basics:
Guidelines on proper documentation of pharmaceutical transactions
Resources on state and federal regulation updates
Compliance policies and training guidelines
Schedule of annual compliance tasks and due dates
Centralized database of policy and information resources
While staff may be adhering to regulations, they may not be aware of the documentation requirements. This oversight is a common compliance issue that can be easily remedied by providing staff with an overview of documentation requirements. When fully aware of requirements, pharmacy staff can help improve quality assurance, compliance, and issue reporting.
Staying current on federal, state, and other regulation updates requires keeping these resources available to relevant staff and communicating updates in an effective manner. While the federal laws offer high-level guidelines, some state and substance-specific regulations, such as those for hazardous materials, are subject to more frequent updates. An effective pharmacy compliance strategy includes tracking and communicating the updates that apply to your facility.
Training policies and procedures are essential to pharmacy compliance and remain the best defense against noncompliance consequences, such as penalties or fines. A training program can be straightforward and simple but needs to be executed on a regular basis to ensure that all staff are informed on current procedures. With everyone on the same page, a compliance audit or inspection can be efficient and stress-free.
Setting up a calendar that identifies compliance components in a dated checklist is a simple yet effective measure to keep your pharmacy protocols up to date. This resource can outline tasks and the frequency with which to monitor them, as well as provide reminders for important communication updates. Together with a central database of resources and information, this strategy element can provide assurance that your facility stays in compliance.
Implementing the Right Tools for Pharmacy Compliance
A significant part of any pharmacy compliance strategy is empowering staff with the right tools. Solutions such as Primex OneVue Sense can help staff with pharmacy asset monitoring and meeting compliance regulations. OneVue sensor options can be installed to monitor storage conditions and access to sensitive medications and supplies. Coupled with Primex OneVue Monitor, the automated system and centralized data storage can provide on-demand reporting that helps demonstrate compliance.
Primex OneVue offers a suite of options that can alleviate the administrative challenges associated with pharmacy compliance and empower staff to focus on patient care and quality assurance. Interested in learning more about how we can help your facility meet compliance documentation requirements? Reach out today!
If you’re in charge of operations and building maintenance in your school, indoor air quality is likely on your mind. The safety and comfort of both students and teachers hinges upon reducing the spread of germs and maintaining indoor air quality, including ideal indoor humidity.
A documented and detailed policy for indoor air quality should include standards for ideal indoor humidity in both summer and winter to help keep students and staff safe and healthy. Other elements to consider when you create your indoor air quality policy include:
Air circulation standards (especially for high-traffic areas)
Real-time tracking and monitoring of these factors
Why Indoor Air Quality Is So Important
Indoor air quality — ranging from the ideal indoor humidity to pollutants — affects the quality of life for students and teachers year-round.
Many of us think outside air generates the most dangerous pollutants, often leading to allergic reactions and respiratory symptoms. But the Environmental Protection Agency found that exposure to air pollutants indoors may be two to five times (and sometimes as high as 100 times) higher than exposure outdoors. Poor indoor air quality can lead to coughing, itchy eyes, a runny nose, headaches, respiratory illnesses, and allergic reactions. These symptoms may lower our immunity, making us more susceptible to colds, the flu, and other infectious diseases.
Temperature and humidity play a huge role in the quality of indoor air. Warm areas with either exceptionally high or low humidity can increase contaminant levels, encourage the spread of germs, and hinder the natural effectiveness of occupants’ immune systems. Maintaining indoor air quality standards in your school can:
Reduce staff and student sick days
Prevent the spread of infectious diseases
Keep students and staff healthier, overall, so they are better able to fight disease
Minimize negative perceptions of your organization
Components of Your Indoor Air Quality Policy to Consider
It’s important that your indoor air quality policy outlines:
A timeframe for testing for contaminants and pollutants
Processes and timelines for mold remediation, if needed
Minimum standards for indoor air quality
The use of a controlled ventilation system to monitor and manage air circulation
Standards for ideal indoor humidity in summer and winter
Emergency processes in the event of an air quality emergency
With standards set in place, you can consider the tools and technology that will help you maintain indoor air quality and ideal indoor humidity year-round so building occupants can thrive.
Establish Ideal Indoor Humidity to Reduce Mold and Contaminants
If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your school, it’s a good idea to test for mold and create a mold remediation and cleanup plan if unsafe conditions exist. Then, carefully monitor indoor air quality and humidity to ensure mold will not develop in the future.
You may not be able to completely revamp your school’s infrastructure to add vapor barriers to your insulation if it’s not already to code, but you can adjust indoor humidity levels using your school’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems, as well as humidification systems. The EPA recommends an ideal indoor humidity below 60%, and preferably between 30% and 50% to maintain comfort and prevent mold growth.
Manage Temperature Control to Reduce the Spread of Germs
Humidity and temperature go hand in hand when it comes to creating a comfortable, productive, and healthy learning environment. You can use a cloud-based, automated monitoring and management system for temperature regulation within your school. You can set the temperature based on the outside temperature or the time of day to ensure an ideal indoor temperature at all times.
Consider offering manual overrides, permitting teachers to set the most comfortable temperature for their classroom. Teachers should take into account any students with special needs or 504 plans mandating specific classroom temperatures. A Wi-Fi-based system with LCD displays allows you to monitor temperatures so you can make adjustments as needed.
Automate Air Circulation Monitoring
Setting air circulation standards, specifically in high-traffic areas such as hallways, cafeterias, and gyms, can also help keep students and staff safe from indoor contaminants. Develop policies for monitoring air circulation through automation, if possible.
Carbon Dioxide and Pollutant Sensors Help Keep Students and Staff Safe
As we focus on maintaining ideal indoor humidity and temperatures, it’s also important to monitor carbon dioxide levels in the air for student and staff safety. Likewise, monitoring for pollutants plays a crucial role in helping to keep your staff and student body healthy and able to fight off germs. (Please note that Primex products do not monitor indoor air pollutants or carbon dioxide levels at this time.)
Choosing the right tools for these jobs is just as important as choosing a cloud-based, comprehensive system for room pressure monitoring to gauge airflow, as well as temperature and humidity control to reduce the spread of disease.
Primex OneVue Helps Uphold Your Indoor Air Quality Policy for a Safe, Successful School Year
It’s easier than you may have imagined to install localized sensors to monitor humidity, temperature, room pressure for airflow, and overall indoor air quality. OneVue Sense uses the Primex OneVue system to capture and record data to ensure you comply with your school’s policies, as well as any regulations set by your district, municipality, or state.
With bank-grade security, customized alerts, and on-demand reports, OneVue Monitor puts all the data you need at your fingertips. In the event of an indoor air quality emergency, OneVue Notify InfoBoard displays can provide visual notifications for your staff and students.
From ensuring ideal indoor humidity levels to proper temperatures that minimize the risk of germ spreading, Primex is your secure solution for maintaining compliance with your air quality policy. Contact us today to learn more.
As much of the world has entered the digital age, our mass transit systems must do the same. Descriptive, accurate, and highly visible public signage, with displays that can update information quickly to fit a variety of situations, are in high demand. Mass transit systems must adapt to handle emergencies and develop new practices required by potential public health concerns, like a global pandemic.
As public needs regarding mass transportation evolve, it is imperative that transit systems keep pace by using the latest technology to serve their customers. The days of paper tickets, books of stamps, and manual schedule boards are fading; digital and wireless technology have more or less rendered them obsolete. Similarly, analog clocks and static platform displays have become outdated and offer passengers neither the precision nor the ability to adjust quickly to changes they are accustomed to in a modern, integrated environment.
Passengers Need Real-Time Route Information and Alerts Now
A 2017 article in Metro Magazine discussed the importance of using digital signage to convey information to passengers in real time, from platform and arrival/departure details to alerts regarding weather or public health and safety. Modern digital displays and signage can build on standard route and time data using rapidly updated messages, audio signals, and custom color connections to alert passengers to important notices such as:
15-minute track delay
Maintain social distance
Remain behind the platform line
Additionally, a recent review of industry literature found that providing real-time information to passengers increases their propensity to look favorably upon their experience and become more frequent mass transit users.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced upon us regular reminders to be hyperaware of our surroundings. Alerts for social distancing and mask wearing can be an important part of such messaging systems, ensuring transit hubs keep their guests updated with the latest precautionary behaviors recommended to minimize public health risks. Not only does digital signage make it easy to share such information quickly as circumstances change, it can do so across a whole network of time displays and message systems at the press of a button, rather than relying on time-intensive manual adjustments.
Digital Signage Offers Improved Visibility
Transit hubs can be noisy, so maximizing the visibility of displays and signage is crucial to ensuring that visitors have all the information they need as quickly as possible. In addition to being responsive and adaptable, LCD and LED digital displays are easy see and maintain visibility in all lighting conditions, both indoor and outdoor. They can convey messages in a variety of colors to enhance readability and connect color-coding to the information being presented. This can be valuable when using single displays to disseminate different types of information, as viewers can more quickly associate the colors with the manner of data being displayed.
Meeting Your Display Needs with Primex OneVue
Primex has designed a system capable of meeting your transportation signage needs with minimal IT requirements. With LED displays capable of displaying messages up to 64 characters and featuring 7 different color options, and offering perfect time synchronization across an entire system, OneVue Notify InfoBoard™ displays can relay accurate time data for passengers, share emergency alerts, or convey health-related messages, all on the same display. With a wide operating range of 32 °F to 95 °F (0 °C to 35 °C), these displays are suitable for both indoor and many covered-outdoor settings.
Primex’s cloud-based OneVue monitoring system doesn’t require a separate server on site, only connection to the same internet network, so an entire set of displays is accessible from a single computer, offering ease of responsiveness to whatever situation may arise for your transit hub. Combined with Primex’s automated OneVue Monitor solutions to track indoor air quality and temperature, and to detect water leaks, the OneVue suite provides a comprehensive network of monitoring software, time synchronization, and public messaging that can enhance the passenger experience at even the busiest and noisiest of transit hubs.
The transition from in-person classrooms to online learning throughout 2020 has left many school facilities vacant or with minimal occupancy. While much focus has been on continuity in teaching, this unexpected situation is putting school facilities at risk of becoming unhealthy environments — both now and when students return to campus.
This means that facility management teams and procedures are more important than ever to school safety and the viability of returning to in-person learning. Facility managers can take a proactive approach to ensure that buildings are well maintained and free from contaminants by creating vacant-facility management plans that keep temperature, water, humidity, and other factors in check throughout the duration of COVID-19.
What You Need in a COVID-19 Vacant Facility Management Plan
In light of the ongoing pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated their guidance for reopening buildings after prolonged periods of low or no occupancy (such as re-opening after summer break). Among the issues addressed, mold, Legionella bacteria, and water contamination are some of the primary concerns. Some issues, like water system management, need hands-on attention to actively prevent contaminants. However, many conditions that may cause unwanted issues during building vacancy, such as mold growth temperature or humidity level, can be prevented through the implementation of automated monitoring systems.
Prioritize Condition Monitoring to Combat Mold Growth and Property Damage
Your vacancy management plan needs to pay careful attention to the conditions that allow mold to grow, specifically humidity level, temperature, and water infiltration. Mold grows where there is moisture and can grow on almost any building material or surface. If allowed to flourish, mold can be a danger to occupants, particularly those with respiratory conditions or weakened immune systems. Proper humidity level monitoring is a first step in combating mold during building vacancy.
The CDC guidelines recommend that humidity levels be maintained as low as possible, not to exceed 50%, and for building managers to consider continuous monitoring to minimize building access. Mold grows best between 77 °F and 86 °F (25 °C and 30 °C), especially if humidity is left unchecked. To get the most from remote monitoring efforts, strategically placed combination temperature and humidity sensors can provide assurance that environmental conditions remain constantly monitored and within desired parameters.
Water leaks also contribute to mold proliferation, as well as property damage and chemical exposure, and need to be addressed as a top priority in your facility management plan. In low- or no-occupancy buildings, water leaks can occur from sitting water that diminishes the integrity of materials. They can also occur from condensation, from underused mechanical units, or from failures in aging material, such as roofing. In order to protect from mold growth and head off larger water damage, building managers can easily install water leak sensors throughout a facility. These small, portable units can provide the monitoring needed to alert managers of any potential threats from water leaks.
While buildings are unoccupied, the regular activities that ensure the building envelope is sealed may be decreased. Rooms and passages that, in typical day-to-day schedules are visually or physically checked to be secure, may be left unnoticed for longer periods of time. The use of contact closure sensors can help limit the potential that doors or windows are left open for prolonged periods of time, letting moisture inside.
Automated Monitoring Strategy During Building Vacancy
With a comprehensive plan and the right monitoring tools, the challenge of fending off potentially harmful building issues during vacancies brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic can be managed. As staff time is limited and building occupancy reduced, the importance of having remote monitoring capability becomes essential.
An environmental monitoring system that can alert facility managers to temperature, humidity, and envelope integrity issues is more accessible than you may realize. Internet connected portable sensors, such as Primex OneVue Sense options, can be easily installed throughout your facility. When used with OneVue Sense Monitor, this technology can provide remote data collection that is easily accessible through a central dashboard and readily available to create customized reports.
While the duration of COVID-19’s effect on facility management remains uncertain, facility managers can take control of mold growth and other potentially extensive property damage prevention now through automated, remote monitoring technology.
How can vaccines be stored safely without losing potency? This is an important question hospital administrators face. Wavering temperatures and inappropriate storage of vaccines can damage them and make administering them to patients ineffective.
Cryogenic vaccine storage is important; however, this requires a high level of monitoring to ensure that it meets safety and compliance measures put forth by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This article will explain the ways you can effectively monitor your cryogenic storage and discuss Primex OneVue Monitoring and temperature monitoring solutions that can help hospitals stay in compliance.
Effective Vaccine Storage
Failure to follow CDC best practice guidelines for vaccine storage can not only result in ineffective vaccinations, but it could also cause your facility to incur significant costs. Inadequate refrigeration temperatures and poor storage conditions can impact the effectiveness of vaccines and cause waste. According to reports earlier this month, some COVID-19 vaccines will require subzero storage and shipping temperatures, some as low as -94 °F (-70 °C). If proven true, this could create issues for pharmacies and hospitals not accustomed to frozen or cryogenic conditions or for those without the proper resources.
Minute changes during storage, including something as simple as the orientation of packaging, could affect the success of cryogenically transporting vaccines. While Primex OneVue Sensors can be used to track temperature control, monitor access, and store information to create compliance reports, how can hospital administrators ensure safe cryogenic vaccine storage and also stay in compliance?
State-of-the-art technology and consistent monitoring of transportation and storage will ensure vaccine effectiveness withstands changing climates and environments.
Cryogenic Storage Options and Protection
To preserve and store biologics long-term, healthcare facilities use liquid nitrogen dewar systems to help keep the stable, low-temperature environment necessary for stem cells. With talk of COVID-19 vaccines in the works, the dewar system may be a popular option for cryogenic transportation and conservation of vaccines.
The dewar system is an unpressurized vessel designed to withstand extreme temperatures. As hospitals begin utilizing systems such as these to transport and store vaccines, what is the best way to comply?
Here are some steps to help protect your liquid nitrogen dewar and vaccines:
Use a Reliable Temperature Monitoring System
To avoid biochemical reactions that may cause damage to vaccines or cells, it is imperative that sensitive vaccines and biologics maintain a very low temperature. Protect your inventory with temperature monitoring systems that alleviate the need for manual temperature monitoring and data logging. The Primex OneVue suite meets today’s stringent IT security policies and seamlessly captures and documents vital monitoring data for pharmacies and hospitals. Compliant with CDC and The Joint Commission guidelines, this easy-to-install temperature monitoring solution is available in single- and dual-prove variations (refrigerator and freezer models, respectively). When conditions move out of a specified range, audible and visual alarms are automatically triggered, along with email, text, and phone alerts to ensure you are aware of any temperature fluctuations.
Keep the Unit Clean and Dry
In addition to ensuring the dewar system itself is operation correctly, the environment around the dewar system should be carefully monitored and maintained to ensure the unit is able to store sensitive assets as effectively as possible. This can include monitoring differential pressure within the storage room and water leaks — changes in pressure may indicate a potentially dangerous failure in the pressure-release valves of the tank, which can often be caused by water leaks.
Sensors can be installed throughout a hospital or healthcare facility to monitor temperature, humidity, water leaks, and access of buildings and controlled rooms. The automation allows key staff to be alerted when something goes awry, whether a change to conditions in a pressurized room or a jump in temperature or humidity of a storage area.
Mitigating Cryogenic Storage Challenges With Primex OneVue
The move toward cryogenic storage for vaccines may pose many challenges to healthcare facilities. But with the help of Primex OneVue, proper temperature control and maintaining vaccine protocol compliance is made easy through precision monitoring and thorough documentation. With the environmental monitoring solutions and proactive alerts within the Primex OneVue suite, hospital staff can have peace of mind knowing that their vaccine supply is stored safely.
Compliance issues, inaccurate testing environments, and decreased efficiency are a few potential consequences that could crop up in your lab if time synchronization and standardization are not in sync.
In the lab setting, with multiple functioning areas and rooms, time synchronization is paramount to organizational success and patient safety. It's important that your lab operates on standardized and synchronized time to ensure accuracy during critical situations. But achieving time synchronization across wall and deceive clocks within the lab — as well as synchronization across the healthcare facility as a whole can be extremely difficult. In fact, one study at the University of Pennsylvania discovered an average clock error of 24 minutes across 1,700 surveyed medical devices. In addition to causing personnel problems, this discrepancy can invalidate test results and place the compliance of the whole facility at risk.
So, what is the solution? This article will discuss how to identify whether your lab’s time is synchronized, overview the potential consequences of the lack of time synchronization, and provide methods you can use to ensure proper time synchronization.
Is Your Lab Running Smoothly?
Accurate time synchronization solutions are vital to ensure medical labs are running smoothly. It is important to guarantee accurate time to alleviate compliance issues, inaccurate testing environments, and to help increase efficiencies. The first step to ensure your lab is operating effectively and efficiently is to audit your current technology and clock systems to ensure they are up to date before performing routine maintenance. Then, consider digitized synchronized clock solutions for your lab so you can meet guidelines and reporting standards.
Consequences of Out-of-Sync Clock Systems
Issues with time synchronization in medical labs can pose numerous potential hazards. Aside from decreasing efficiency, lapses in time synchronization can be dangerous and can lead to compliance issues during reporting. Problems such as invalid lab samples can be impacted by clocks that are not in sync. If lab workers cannot confirm when or what time a specimen was tested due to out-of-sync clocks, the specimen may not be valid. For example, many specimens collected in the ICU or other parts of a healthcare facility have a very small testing window before results can become inaccurate or invalid. If the clocks in a lab are not synchronized both across the lab and with those in other parts of the facility, tests may not be performed in a timely manner. This could put patients in jeopardy by returning invalid results (potentially leading to misdiagnosis) or by slowing down the diagnosis/treatment process due to the need to conduct multiple versions of the same test.
Clock synchronization will ensure that labs meet all of the tight turnaround times generally related to testing and research. While clock synchronization strategies and technologies can help with these types of time discrepancies, what else could be affected?
Ensuring your lab is functioning with proper time synchronization is important for proper documentation and compliance. The Primex OneVue Sync solution can help labs keep accurate time documentation and record keeping to avoid compliance issues. The lab will need to communicate with other areas of medicine or research, so technologies must be in sync so that proper timekeeping and record keeping take place. Conflicts occur when synchronization is not reliable between different medical devices, lab clocks, or staff computers. Labs must be able to reliably send alerts from one system or another or note the proper time during procedures or medication distribution to ensure proper documentation.
Digital clock solutions can make staff changes seamless. The OneVue solution provides synchronized clocks and unified timekeeping solutions across lab facilities to ensure adequate staff and shift changes. Proper shift changes are very important to ensure that staff can pick up where the last shift left off, ensuring record keeping and documentation are in sync. In addition, it is important so that the lab can keep up with appointments and keep the medical lab running efficiently for both patients and staffing.
Alleviating Reporting Discrepancies
In addition, the importance of timekeeping and record keeping solutions are integral for a lab's reporting of medications and procedures to insurance companies. This is where the Primex suite of digital timekeeping and synchronization tools come in handy. Discrepancies between actual versus scheduled procedures or medication dispensing can play a negative role in reporting or reimbursement. It is imperative that time synchronization tools be up to date, monitored, and checked to ensure mishaps do not occur.
OneVue Monitor and Synchronized Timekeeping
Missteps in reporting, documentation, or efficiency can impact the compliance of your lab and the reliability of your work. Luckily, today, it is much easier to keep your head above water with the sophisticated time and clock synchronization solutions available. The Primex OneVue Sync can keep your lab running according to schedule. The OneVue Sync Transmitter is a smart solution for unified timekeeping, and Primex Digital Clocks and the OneVue Notify InfoBoard™ displays can further assist in strengthening the efficiency of your lab.
Don’t get caught without proper temperature monitoring devices when you receive your COVID-19 vaccines. Primex OneVue technology will help.
News related to COVID-19 continues to inundate broadcasts, newspapers, and webpages. On the heels of the Food and Drug Administration recently approving remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19, Pfizer announced its “biggest ever” vaccination distribution campaign for COVID-19 vaccines. Despite this large-scale distribution plan, the initial vaccine supply is expected to be limited, making hospitals, health systems, and pharmacies think about how they can safely store these valuable assets — which will need to be at ultralow temperatures — to maintain efficacy and avoid any potential loss.
When Will a COVID-19 Vaccine Be Ready?
The FDA has stood strongly when it comes to maintaining the scientific process of approving potential COVID-19 vaccines. The agency recently called together an advisory group meeting to discuss when and if widespread use of a vaccine without extensive evidence of efficacy and safety is possible. The meeting’s verdict: don’t rush it. A rushed vaccine, especially one approved for emergency authorization use, could mean more distrust within the general public over getting vaccinated and a disruption in current clinical trials that are testing the vaccines.
How Will We Receive and Store COVID-19 Vaccines?
Whenever their vaccine is ready and approved, however, Pfizer claims it’s ready for widespread distribution. The pharmaceutical giant has reportedly built 350 freezers at a supply chain hub in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which will allow the company to ship 100 million doses yet this year, and an additional 1.3 billion in 2021. While the exact timing of their vaccine is still unknown — Pfizer’s CEO has said that the company will apply for emergency authorization in late November, following completion of a two-month safety data recording milestone — hospitals and health systems must be ready to ensure proper vaccine storage.
Some vaccines — including Pfizer’s lead candidate — will reportedly require extremely cold storage temperatures, with some as low as minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 70 degrees Celsius). This has prompted clinics, hospitals, and health systems to prepare their storage capabilities accordingly for an incoming wave of vaccines, turning deep freezers into a hot commodity. These vaccine providers will also have to meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirements for storage and handling at ultralow temperatures to maintain vaccine safety and effectiveness.
How Can We Keep Our COVID-19 Vaccines Safe?
Keeping your supply of COVID-19 vaccines safe will rely significantly on proper temperature monitoring, which is made easy with Primex OneVue Monitor software. This automated temperature monitoring technology can send you real-time alerts if temperatures within your vaccine storage area leave a specified range. Not only does this help with keeping vaccines viable, but also with maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements. Additionally, manual logging will be eliminated, thanks to automated reporting within the OneVue Monitor software. Temperature monitoring is made possible by a Primex OneVue Sense Temperature Sensor with a cryogenic temperature probe, which can monitor storage units as cold as minus 328 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 200 degrees Celsius).
We know that there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the approval, distribution, and storage of COVID-19 vaccines once they’re ready. Let us provide some certainty: Once you have your vaccines, Primex OneVue Sense can help keep them safe. Contact us today for a free consultation.
When it comes to managing a hospital, establishing a temperature and humidity policy that ensures safety, compliance, and comfort is key. In this article, learn how to build an effective policy for your facility with Primex OneVue solutions.
Accurate hospital humidity and temperature control are essential to patients, staff, and visitors’ health and comfort. Air humidity also plays a role in safety by protecting electronic hospital equipment from electrostatic discharges and decreasing the risk of flammable materials igniting. For these and other factors, the management of environmental conditions in healthcare facilities depends on precise hospital temperature and humidity policies to be part of effective operating strategies.
Automated Humidity and Temperature Monitoring for Every Healthcare Setting
This past year has highlighted the need for facilities to be adaptable and efficient. Changing protocols, increased demand for disease control and isolation areas, and an increase in field hospitals’ deployment are all examples of how a disruptive event can challenge the monitoring of environmental controls — and have demonstrated the need for a comprehensive temperature and humidity policy.
Temperature and Humidity Sensors for Accurate Data Tracking
An effective temperature and humidity policy is only as good as the hardware it relies on. OneVue temperature and humidity sensors are designed with facility managers in mind. These highly accurate units allow environmental conditions to be monitored and for data to be recorded for easy access through the Primex OneVue Monitor system. Easily installed as needed throughout a facility, these sensors feature audible and visible alerts. When connected to the OneVue Monitor network, they can provide alerts by email, text, or phone if conditions fall beyond set parameters.
The Primex OneVue Sense options include temperature sensors with a temperature probe or thermobuffers for targeted monitoring, or temperature and humidity sensors. Each option provides additional versatility to help temperature and humidity monitoring goals. The sensors can be easily installed throughout a healthcare facility, with minimal requirements. Each unit is portable and can be moved to a different location to meet changing demands according to hospital temperature and humidity policy. They are available with battery, AC, or Power over Ethernet power options to ensure data security during network or power outages.
When combined with the OneVue Monitor software, the sensors are part of an integrated monitoring system customized to capture the information you need and create on-demand reports. This capability eliminates the need for manual recording while still maintaining accurate records and the ability to demonstrate policy or regulatory compliance.
Ensuring Patient and Caregiver Comfort
Low air humidity can cause respiratory problems and sensitivity in eyes, skin, ears, nose, mouth, and throat. Low humidity also prolongs the presence of cold and flu viruses. Alternately, high humidity and temperature can increase the spread of bacteria and other contaminants. Both of these conditions — along with too cold or too warm room temperatures — can affect the comfort of the patient and the ability of the caregiving staff to work at their highest levels.
All of these conditions can be managed by setting temperature and humidity parameters and monitoring indoor air quality. With an automated monitoring system in place, personnel can focus on patient care knowing that they will be alerted if humidity and temperature parameters fall out of range.
Protecting Key Assets with Climate Control
In parallel with climate control for comfort and interior air quality, facilities are challenged with maintaining proper storage of medications, laboratory assets, and vaccines. The Primex OneVue Sense suite of sensors and monitoring systems can provide the needed data tracking and reporting required for regulatory standards.
Primex OneVue temperature and combination temperature and humidity sensors provide solutions that meet the CDC, FDA, TJC, and HCAHPS guidelines. With direct alerts and smart device dashboard access, the Monitor system creates an additional value of temperature and humidity monitoring from remote locations. This added assurance gives hospital managers the ability to adapt to guidelines for reduced staff while still maintaining complete environmental monitoring performance.
Effective Policy Adherence with Primex OneVue
Climate control through a comprehensive hospital policy is an effective measure to ensure your facility provides occupant comfort and effectively manages the containment of disease, germs, and allergens. Automated monitoring is a critical component in a hospital temperature and humidity policy that can empower your facility personnel with the data they need to stay compliant.
Through environmental monitoring, data collection, reporting, and effective communications, Primex OneVue is an invaluable tool to implement hospital temperature and humidity policy. The automated sensors and data recording alleviate the need for manual or on-site recording while still providing a solution to monitor and document conditions. The Primex suite of automated monitoring options empowers managers and creates efficiency, allowing patient care and comfort to remain the top priority.
For laboratory and pharmaceutical facilities, complying with GxP guidelines is crucial. In this article, learn the basics of GxP compliance, and discover how to leverage automated tools and technologies to make compliance simple.
GxP compliance is a means to demonstrate good practices that ensure safety in food, medical and even cosmetic products. The guidelines can be applied to a wide variety of activities including Good Laboratory Practices, Good Clinical Practices, and other GxP-regulated environments.
While the standards and regulations can be tailored to a particular field, they are centered on two main principles: accountability and traceability. In this article, we’ll look at GxP compliance in the context of the pharmaceutical industry and highlight solutions to help you meet best practice guidelines.
Understanding GxP in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Depending on the activities of your facility, you may find it necessary to meet a variety of guidelines such as Good Manufacturing Practice, which is focused on the quality and control of medications, medical devices, or active pharmaceutical ingredients. In clinical trial settings, Good Clinical Practices define the regulations for pharmaceutical testing with trial subjects. Good Laboratory Practices set standards for testing the safety and effectiveness of products.
The standards and regulations that define GxP focus on the parties involved in the creation of a product and when they participated; they also concern the ability to trace a product through the production process. These principles are centered on two main aspects of GxP compliance, including:
Traceability: ability to trace the entirety of a product’s creation.
Accountability: ability to demonstrate all contributors to a product’s creation.
In the pharmaceutical industry, GxP regulations are intended to address the safety of medical products and medications. The requirements are set by both national and international organizations, such as the Food and Drug Administration, and encompass several fields including manufacturing, clinical, laboratory, storage, distribution, and review.
Comprehensive GxP Compliance Solutions
Given the complexity of regulatory standards, it may feel like compliance is an enormous undertaking. However, GxP guidance is extremely structured and standards are aligned across different pharmaceutical activities. Many core best practices hold similar operational requirements that can be implemented through a methodical approach to facility controls and monitoring systems.
For example, Good Manufacturing Practices for Finished Pharmaceuticals require drug products to be stored in proper conditions of temperature, humidity, and light. This same requirement also applies to Good Clinical Practice standards. From a facility operations perspective, GxP compliance can be supported through a robust environmental monitoring system, such as Primex OneVue Sense — which offers superior temperature and humidity monitoring.
GxP Environment Best Practices
Environmental Monitoring and Storage Access Documentation
Meeting GxP compliance in pharmaceutical settings is heavily dependent on the ability of a facility to control and monitor environmental conditions. It also requires thorough documentation of conditions, access, duration of storage, and handling of medical products.
Primex OneVue Sense provides a solution that can help monitor environmental conditions with temperature, humidity, and contact closure sensors. The portable sensors are easily installed and can alert staff to temperature variances, log times of access to restricted areas, and capture the monitoring data for on-demand reporting through the OneVue Monitor dashboard.
Automated Environmental Monitoring for GxP Compliance
With a focus on accountability and traceability, GxP regulations demand the ability to track personnel activities and environmental conditions with precision. The Primex OneVue suite provides comprehensive solutions that allow your facility to monitor the temperature and humidity of, and access to, medical products and medications throughout manufacturing, laboratory, and healthcare settings.
The system eliminates the need to manually record data and allows you to demonstrate compliance with readily available reporting. You can maintain the integrity of controlled areas and verify your data is safely stored in a GxP compliant environment.
Meeting GxP Compliance with Primex OneVue
With Primex OneVue, maintaining and demonstrating GxP compliance can be done accurately through precision monitoring and thorough documentation. The OneVue suite of environmental monitoring solutions works seamlessly with the OneVue Monitor software to produce accurate compliance records.
When it comes to increasing efficiency and improving safety at your healthcare facility, the ability to monitor temperature and other environmental conditions remotely is crucial. This article explores how this technology will be a critical path forward for the future of EHS management.
Confronted with new workplace environmental, health, and safety (EHS) guidelines, healthcare facility managers can leverage remote temperature monitoring to ensure that operations remain open and safe.
Here’s how automated systems can track, capture, and provide precision information on key assets and critical workspaces while meeting today’s workplace safety recommendations.
Environmental Monitoring and Distancing Guidelines
The current healthcare climate combines heightened demand for patient care with increased safety measures that can be challenging for any facility operations. The need to decrease staff density or create restricted access areas can strain facility monitoring activities that rely on manual checks and data logging. Fortunately, there are automated solutions that can alleviate the stress of environmental monitoring and provide reliable EHS solutions.
Hospitals, labs, and other medical service facilities are set up to receive, store, and distribute medications in dedicated areas. Now, additional ICU, critical care, isolation rooms, and even pop-up outdoor screening and vaccination centers add to the protocols and increase the scope of on-site monitoring of environmental conditions.
Automated monitoring systems such as Primex OneVue allow facility managers and relevant staff to navigate these changes while ensuring the integrity of medications, vaccines, as well as the safety of personnel, patients, and visitors.
Temperature Assurance Where and When You Need It
For clinical teams charged with keeping key assets properly stored, the importance of temperature monitoring is already a priority. With the additional challenges created by COVID-19, the ability to monitor and assess temperature settings remotely is becoming a highly valuable solution.
The CDC and OSHA guidelines for workplace safety outline specific risk factors related to the current pandemic and consistently point to reduced person-to-person contact as a key safety measure. In order to meet these recommendations, facilities can look to a remote temperature monitoring system to reduce unnecessary exposure, such as nonessential personnel passing an isolation room or in high-density areas.
Primex OneVue Sense provides a solution that can help remotely monitor environmental conditions of laboratory and healthcare settings with temperature and humidity sensors. The portable sensors are easy to install for medical storage units (including refrigerators) and can alert staff to temperature variances and capture the data for on-demand reporting through the OneVue Monitor dashboard. The sensor options provide reliable, highly accurate data with calibrated probes and thermobuffers that simulate the actual temperature of refrigerated assets and minimize false sensor readings from minor fluctuations. The Monitor system eliminates the need to manually record data and allows you to confirm the integrity of controlled areas, freeing up caregiver bandwidth to spend more time with patients.
Using Monitor on a web browser, this data can then be accessed anywhere, anytime, and by anyone who may need access to it. This allows you to both reduce the number of staff required to be present to monitor sensitive assets and to more easily monitor assets during the off-hours of your facility — including nights, weekends, and more. This allows both caregiving staff and facility managers to rest easy knowing that medication, biohazards, and more will not fall out of compliance requirements by alerting staff to the need for a physical check-in.
Managing Personnel Traffic in Restricted Access Areas
New distancing protocols and limited traffic within restricted areas are central in today’s EHS management. Monitoring access to restricted areas can also be done remotely with OneVue Sense Contact Closure Sensors. These small, reliable devices use magnetic strips connected to a monitor that can measure and record the opening and closing of the contacts. They are easy to install on doors, cabinets, and refrigeration units. When used as part of the OneVue Monitor software, the sensors can reduce on-site personnel without compromising assurance.
Meeting Temperature Monitoring Challenges With Confidence
All of Primex OneVue sensors meet the compliance guidelines set by the CDC, and other governing bodies. OneVue sensors can be easily installed and moved, and offer multiple power options including battery, AC, and some with Power over Ethernet (POE) making them an ideal solution for changing workplace protocols. With Primex OneVue, maintaining EHS guidelines and meeting compliance standards can be done accurately through remote precision temperature monitoring and comprehensive documentation.
Navigating through VFC vaccine storage requirements, documentation and record keeping is no easy task. This article will provide the best practices on how to properly adhere to guidelines and highlight technological solutions that can help make your staff’s lives easier when adhering to compliance guidelines.
On the most basic level, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines for children of eligible families at no cost to help prevent the spread of disease. But complying with VFC can feel anything but basic.
Navigating through VFC vaccine storage requirements, documentation and record keeping is no easy task. And how VFC providers comply with VFC vaccine storage requirements is important, not only because it ensures that VFC-eligible children receive viable and properly handled vaccines, but also because failing to comply can lead to serious consequences for your facility.
The Primex OneVue solution is a valuable tool that can help facilities monitor, document and report facility performance to ensure you are meeting requirements and mitigating errors while keeping up with VFC vaccine storage requirements. Here, we explore what your facility needs to know about compliance, and how our solution can help.
VFC Vaccine Storage Requirements
Each year, storage and handling errors of vaccines occur at facilities around the country. These slip-ups can lead to a wide range of issues including reducing vaccine potency or the need to revaccinate, which can lead to wasting numbers of vaccinations due to lack of oversight.
Understanding the best practices for VFC requirements linked to storage and proper documentation and record keeping will give you a leg up when it comes to compliance to ensure you’re doing everything you can to help prevent the spread of disease.
Regulating Temperature and Monitoring
Exposing vaccines to unsuitable conditions can decrease the potency of refrigerated vaccines. By following CDC-recommended storage and handling procedures along with more specific guidelines created on a state-by-state level, providers can ensure patients receive high-quality vaccines that have not been compromised.
To adhere to VFC storage requirements, facilities must have proper storage and monitoring equipment set up and maintained. Installing temperature monitoring equipment in the facility will ensure that vaccines are adequately refrigerated, protecting your vaccines.
The Primex OneVue suite, including the OneVue Sense remote temperature monitoring solution, provides electronic temperature monitoring and data logging to help you keep your vaccines protected. Paired with the OneVue Monitor solution, your facility can keep data and reports so that you may demonstrate compliance.
Best Practices for Storage and Handling
To ensure vaccines have proper storage and to mitigate risks involved with administration errors, the CDC has put forth some best practices for correctly storing and handling vaccines. States generally reference these requirements but you should always consult your local authority for any changes or additional regulations.
Conduct routine maintenance for all vaccine storage units and related equipment so that your equipment functions at maximum efficiency.
Vaccines with the shortest expiration dates are placed in front of those with longer expiration dates.
Vaccines are stored in the center of the refrigerator unit, away from any cold air vents and away from the wall, and are not stored in refrigerator or freezer doors, nor on the top shelf or the floor of the unit, nor in refrigerator drawers.
Avoid placing or storing any items other than vaccines, diluents and water bottles inside storage units.
If other medications and biological products must be stored in the same unit as vaccines, they must be clearly marked and stored in separate containers or bins from vaccines.
Under the VFC program, facilities should maintain the following records for a minimum of three years:
Patient eligibility screening records.
Patient immunization administration logs.
Vaccine temperature logs.
VFC doses administered.
Facilities should accurately record and store temperature information to ensure vaccine viability. Keeping these data for three years allows for the analyzing of long-term trends and/or recurring issues. The CDC recommends facilities use a temperature monitoring device in each vaccine storage unit and each transport unit that is equipped with a detachable probe to reflect vaccine temperatures, alarms for out-of-range-temperatures, and a low-battery indicator.
Recordkeeping Made Easy
Because of the strict guidelines surrounding the VFC program, your facility demands a monitoring system that can help assist staff and make easily accessible reports that verify storage conditions and time tracking of when vaccines are administered.
With help of the OneVue Monitor solution from Primex, you can ensure your facility is keeping the monitoring data and reports you need to adhere to the VFC regulations. Pre-programmed event codes and the ability to log alert responses — including the date of first use for temperature probes and probe replacement — in the software ensure your information is at the tip of your finger.
Additionally, OneVue Monitor provides an Asset Summary Report that can help keep your vaccine and temperature logs in one place, making it easy to find during audit scenarios. This report collects temperature every 30 minutes and displays two customizable time points of exact temperature (defaults to 12 AM and 12 PM) and shows the daily minimum and maximum temperatures to comply with some state requirements which mandate those records. The electronic signature feature proves that you have reviewed storage unit temperature readings and changes in temperature trends that might require action, helping to keep you in compliance. Monitor stores these records for a minimum of seven years, far exceeding the three-year period mandated by federal VFC guidelines.
The Primex OneVue solution provides the tools you need to maintain compliance with VFC program vaccine storage and record keeping.
The regulations for vaccine storage and management can seem complex, but getting and staying compliant is more manageable than you might think. In this article, learn about the requirements for your facility and the solutions that will support best practices.
Vaccines are a central component of preventative healthcare and helping to protect people against communicable diseases. In the context of 2020, vaccine research and studies have become a regular topic in the news cycle. Whether your facility is focused on pediatrics, general care or infectious disease treatment, the protocols for vaccine storage and biosafety should be a top priority. Here we’ll outline the key measures for vaccine management and how automated monitoring can help you maintain and demonstrate compliance.
Best Practice Guidance for Vaccine Storage and Handling
As with many U.S. healthcare protocols, best practice guidelines for vaccine storage and handling can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But layering on state and local health department immunization programs, manufacturer specifications and emerging research from authorities such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) complement (and sometimes, complicate) the CDC’s guidance. Whether just getting started or looking to do a mid-course correction on vaccine storage and handling, there are a few general steps you can take to get going on the right path.
Identifying a designated team member to oversee coordination of your vaccine program will ensure that compliance requirements are understood and implemented. Those requirements should be captured by clear standard operating procedures (SOPs) for vaccine storage and handling. The SOPs will serve as the basis for your facility operations regarding vaccines, and should provide information on types of vaccines, vaccine manufacturers, staff training, storage and handling and also vaccine storage during emergency situations.
Managing the Vaccine Cold Chain
Vaccines require a temperature-controlled supply chain from the manufacturer to the healthcare facility and until they are administered. Within the SOPs for your facility should be an outline of the temperature control requirements for vaccine receiving areas as well as the authorized personnel tasked with receiving and logging vaccine inventory. The conditions will need to be monitored and documented in order to meet regulations and demonstrate compliance.
Primex OneVue Sense provides a solution that can help ensure your SOP is being upheld by monitoring storage conditions with temperature and contact closure sensors. The portable sensors are easily installed and can alert staff to temperature variances, log times of access to restricted areas and capture the monitoring data for on-demand reporting through the OneVue Monitor dashboard.
Routine Vaccine Storage and Handling
After vaccines are received by a facility, measures for temperature control, inventory management and storage monitoring must be maintained. Similar to managing the cold chain, vaccine storage protocols require that the conditions — including temperature, access and duration of storage — need to be monitored and documented. The Primex OneVue sensors can be used to track temperature control, monitor access and store the information to create compliance reports.
Ensuring Compliance in Emergency Situations
Preparedness for emergency situations — such as needing to set up triage or care units in pop-up hospital locations — is a crucial element of well-run healthcare facility operations. However, depending on the severity and duration of an emergency it can be difficult to monitor the integrity of medication and vaccine storage. Primex OneVue takes the worry out of vaccine storage monitoring during emergencies.
Primex OneVue temperature sensors meet the compliance regulations set by the CDC, FDA and other governing bodies. OneVue sensors can be easily installed and moved, and offer multiple power options including battery, AC and power over Ethernet (POE) making them an ideal solution for emergency conditions that might require additional monitoring capacity. The sensors keep data safe by storing readings in local memory during power outages. When systems are back online, the information is sent to OneVue. The units can also be configured to signal local alerts (light and audible alarms) during power and network disruptions.
Automated Monitoring and Biosafety
In addition to protocols for patient safety, vaccine research and use can require additional measures to ensure Biological Safety Levels (BSL) for laboratory and facility personnel. The CDC sets standards for BSL labs in order to assure containment of biological agents. In certain BSL level areas, a key protocol is self-closing, lockable doors.
Primex contact closure sensors can be used to monitor containment measures at a room perimeter or when installed at biological safety cabinets by documenting door contact closure activity. When used as part of the OneVue Monitor software, the sensors act as a line of defense that can confirm the integrity of controlled areas by verifying access against event and treatment logs.
Additional protocols for biosafety, such as USP, can require sustained directional airflow to contain airborne contaminants. OneVue Sense environmental monitoring system uses Differential Pressure Monitoring sensors to detect ultra-low changes in air pressure that could affect biosafety containment areas. The precision of OneVue sensors can detect changes in air pressure and alert the responsible staff through notifications sent by text, phone or email. The system captures pressure-reading data and allows the information to be accessed from anywhere through the web-enabled OneVue Monitor software platform.
Meeting Vaccine Storage and Handling Challenges with Primex OneVue
With Primex OneVue, maintaining vaccine protocol compliance can be done accurately through precision monitoring and thorough documentation. The OneVue suite of environmental monitoring solutions including differential pressure sensors, contact closure sensors and temperature sensors work in tandem with the OneVue Monitor software to produce compliance records and ensure safety. With OneVue Sense, your team can be confident that your vaccine inventory is kept in compliance for effectiveness and safety.
Being caught unprepared for a compliance audit can put your facility’s reputation – and accreditations – in jeopardy. In this article, learn how to leverage technology solutions to always stay compliant and ready for a healthcare audit.
Understanding the different types of healthcare audits and demonstrating compliance can be a challenge for any facility. Creating a safe working environment while delivering high-level patient care requires well-defined policies and procedures, clear communication and training, and precision facility monitoring. Fortunately, Primex OneVue is a valuable resource that can help you to monitor, document and report on your facility performance to ensure you’re meeting the standards and are prepared for any compliance review.
In this article we’ll discuss how to use the OneVue system, along with other tools and best practices, to ensure your facility is always ready to demonstrate compliance.
What is the Purpose of Auditing?
Healthcare audits play a role in patient care, claims and billing, and worker safety. They provide assurance that facilities are meeting legal and regulatory requirements set by both mandatory and voluntary certification standards. While they can be complex, compliance audits can help improve patient experience and outcomes, reveal opportunities for cost savings and identify areas for corrections in safety protocols.
For example, according to the CDC, about 8 million U.S. healthcare workers are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs every year. This includes pharmacy and nursing personnel, physicians, operating room personnel, environmental services workers, workers in research laboratories, veterinary care workers, and shipping and receiving personnel. The long-term effects of exposure can result in abnormal reproductive issues, infertility and even cancer. Every step in the handling of hazardous drugs (HDs) is a potential point of exposure. As a response, the USP <800> standard was developed to provide guidance on the management of HDs and incorporate these practices into a healthcare facility’s occupational safety plan.
Many standards require that organizations maintain a list of HDs, provide proper settings and engineering controls for infection containment, have competent personnel, safe work practices, proper use of PPE and protocol for waste and disposal. Facility conditions that promote patient safety, worker safety, and environmental protection can be achieved through environmental controls and precision monitoring. The Primex OneVue suite of software, sensors and timekeeping solutions provides assurance that variables such as differential pressure, access, time tracking and communication are managed within safety guidelines.
How to be Prepared for a Compliance Audit
The first focus is comprehension of the standards and regulations that define the requirements for your facility operations. Having a designated team leader who can demonstrate thorough understanding of the different guidelines as well as the purpose, intent and protocols is fundamental to compliance.
Secondly, a full scope list of practices and protocols that fall under regulatory review will serve as a basis for your facility’s operational plan. This can include documentation, record keeping, list of hazardous drugs used, hospital claims and even measures for healthcare of specific conditions such as diabetes monitoring.
Once your facility has a solid grasp on all the relevant requirements, you can establish the facility operations needed, such as engineering controls. Lastly a review of the work practices — including training, communication, signage, etc. — will ensure all areas and components of the facility meet healthcare compliance.
Meeting Compliance Challenges with Primex OneVue
Regulatory requirements for a facility can include creating areas with negative or positive pressure, proper air exchange and venting. They can also include a provision for prominent signage and restricted access for authorized personnel. From designated areas for HDs including receipt and unpacking, storage, non-sterile compounding and sterile compounding, to time tracking to storage, below are a few of the compliance solutions OneVue can provide.
Monitoring Medications at Receiving, Storage and Compounding
Certain standards set environmental requirements for handling of medications. For example, hazardous drugs must be received in a neutral or negative pressure room and stored in a negative pressure room to meet the requirements of the USP <800> standard. Similar restrictions apply to rooms where the drugs are prepared and distributed. Once the design and HVAC engineering of these designated areas is complete, the task of monitoring environmental conditions, as well as documenting access to restricted areas, are necessary to maintain parameters and meet the requirements of a compliance review. Primex OneVue provides a solution that can monitor, document and report on the conditions of areas that are designated for medication handling and control.
Within the OneVue Sense environmental monitoring system Differential Pressure Monitoring sensors work to detect ultra-low changes in air pressure that could affect the integrity of climate controlled spaces. Even with minimal airflow, these easy-to-install sensors are able to detect changes in air pressure and alert the responsible staff through notifications sent by text, phone or email. The system captures pressure-reading data and allows the information to be accessed anywhere through the web-enabled OneVue Monitor.
Visual Displays and Time-Tracking Events
Time tracking and visual signage are also crucial elements to patient care and staff safety. Synchronized time tracking provides the capacity to document the time of receipt, duration of medication storage or compounding, and also the time of administering medications to patients. Providing verified time sources within the areas designated for medication handling or highly-visible elapsed timers for code blue response tracking is a simple, effective way to support compliance. As a connected device within OneVue Monitor system, Sync solutions can provide the synchronized time tracking needed to accurately document coded events, medication delivery, vaccine administration or other activities that are subject to regulatory oversight.
Visual displays that are connected to a centralized OneVue monitoring system can also be utilized to label restricted areas or alert staff to a critical event, such as a spill or a patient emergency. OneVue Notify InfoBoard can provide visual notification to communicate the protocols associated with regulatory standards.
Documenting Personnel Traffic in Restricted Access Areas
Personnel protocols and limiting traffic within restricted areas to authorized personnel only is paramount to maintaining safety guidelines. Monitoring access to restricted storage, handling or procedure areas can be achieved with OneVue Sense Contact Closure Sensors. These small, reliable devices use magnetic strips connected to a monitor that can measure and record the opening and closing of the contacts. They are easy to install at doors, cabinets and refrigeration units. When used as part of the OneVue Monitor software the sensors act as a line of defense that can confirm the integrity of controlled areas by verifying access against event and treatment logs.
Managing Vaccine Protocols for Children
The guidelines for pediatric immunization set strict protocols for availability, access, education, schedule, storage and record keeping. For a healthcare facility, this demands a comprehensive monitoring system that can assist caregivers and, when needed, provide easily retrievable reports and records that verify storage conditions, like temperature, personnel access and time tracking of when vaccines are administered. Primex OneVue Sense provides the tools needed to maintain compliance with vaccine management as set by the US Department of Heath and Human Services (HHS).
Take Control of Compliance Reviews with OneVue
With Primex OneVue implemented, the team leaders charged with maintaining healthcare compliance can accurately monitor and improve protocols or conditions throughout day-to-day operations. The differential pressure sensors, InfoBoard displays, contact closure sensors and temperature sensors for vaccines paired with the OneVue Monitor software provide easily accessible records on performance that can be used to remedy problems and support continual improvements.
This capability becomes invaluable at the time of a compliance audit, allowing the designated team member to verify the facility’s adherence by utilizing accurate records and reports. This data summary may either be prepared in advance or readily accessible through the OneVue Monitor dashboard. With OneVue Sense, your team can be confident in the level of compliance not just as a measure of performance but also for their everyday workplace effectiveness and safety.
As we approach a year of operating under USP <800> compliance requirements, it’s important to look back on your facility’s efforts. Here, we provide a high-level USP <800> overview and guidelines for compliance along with some tools to help make compliance more seamless.
It is estimated that more than 8 million US healthcare workers are exposed to hazardous drugs in the workplace each year. To help mitigate this risk, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) rolled out USP Standard <800> in 2019, aimed to regulate employee protection. Now, nearly a year on, it is crucial to ensure everyone at your facility understands the guideline, and to examine your organization’s compliance to date.
This article will help facilities understand the technology and resources necessary to comply with USP <800> guidelines and offer solutions on how to reach compliance quickly and efficiently.
USP 800 Summary
USP <800> standards aim to help facilities properly handle hazardous drugs in order to promote patient safety, employee safety and environmental protection. According to USP, this includes the “receipt, storage, compounding, dispensing, administration and disposal of sterile and nonsterile products and preparations.” Because many hazardous drugs are found in hospital facilities, nurses, physicians and other healthcare staff are often at risk of exposure. USP < 800> guidelines will ensure that facilities properly store and dispose of these materials to enhance the health and safety of employees.
In order to comply with the guidelines, USP outlines the requirements facilities will need to meet, which include but are not limited to:
Inventory of hazardous drugs
How responsible parties will handle hazardous drugs
Facility and engineering controls
Environmental and quality controls
Proper use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Proper hazardous waste disposal and storage
Labeling, packaging, transport and disposal
Dispensing final dosage forms
Deactivating, decontaminating, cleaning and disinfecting
Documentation and standard operating procedures
Medical Surveillance for employees handling hazardous drugs
As of December 2019, all facilities are expected to be in compliance with these standards. Below we will explore the best practices facilities should implement to maintain compliance with USP <800>.
Foundations for Compliance
It is likely that your facility was overwhelmed during the push to meet somewhat costly and even challenging requirements within USP <800> guidelines, which is why it is important to reassess your efforts to ensure nothing slipped through the cracks. Ready for <800>, an educational resource, has put together a USP compliance checklist to educate on the requirements necessary to reach compliance.
Bringing Key Stakeholders on Board
First, facilities should look to implement an interdisciplinary team that includes pharmacy staff, nurses, administration and quality control employees. Facility managers should start by creating a list of all hazardous drugs housed in the facility. As new or different drugs enter the facility walls, administrators will need to evaluate hazards utilization forms to assess risk. Because the USP requirements are extensive, it will be helpful to train staff and rely on your interdisciplinary team to help handle these hazardous drugs and the tasks that come with it.
Hazardous Drug Storage
A key component in complying with USP <800> is proper drug storage, receiving and transport. To prevent spills and exposure, hazardous drugs should be stored in well ventilated, negative-pressure rooms. Facilities should also ensure the proper labeling, storage and handling of these drugs in compliance with state and federal regulations.
The OneVue Sense temperature sensors and probes and differential pressure sensor solutions, combined with the OneVue Monitor System can ensure your facility is in compliance with regulations and protect your inventory. The OneVue solution eliminates the use of manual data logging, enabling you to capture and document vital monitoring data without placing a strain on caregivers’ bandwidth.
Compounding & Proper Ventilation
Part of the USP <800> guidelines help to protect hazardous drugs from cross-contamination and microbial contamination during the compounding process. Facilities must implement containment primary engineering controls (C-PECs), including:
Have appropriate air exchange
Have a negative pressure between 0.01 and 0.03 inches of water column relative to all adjacent areas
Primex OneVue Provides the Tools You Need for Compliance
Primex OneVue Sense Differential Pressure Sensors are easy to install and provide you with the assurance that your facilities are maintaining negative pressure to prevent containments from spreading. You can remain at ease knowing that the solution will alert you to any pressure changes, keeping you in compliance 24/7. The OneVue system provides you with the ability to continuously track and document pressure differentials, reducing headaches. Learn more about how these solutions can help protect your environment from contamination by downloading our PDF on how to monitor pressure with differential pressure sensors.
The Primex OneVue solution creates on-demand reports, customized alerts and top-notch security, you can rest easy knowing your facility has all your documents and reports in one place, allowing you to show you’re in compliance with regulations. . The system also logs and stores data and alerts you to any conditions that may warrant attention. Automated tracking allows facilities to focus on improvement and providing the best care possible to patients.
Think you’re ready for USP <800>? Download the Ready for <800> Checklist here.
Is your facility’s timekeeping system wasting time? In this article, learn the signs of an outdated system, and how to bring your organization back into perfect sync.
When you think about your facility’s operations, how much confidence do you have that it’s running on precision time? Are classes starting when scheduled in every building across campus? Are healthcare procedures being tracked accurately? Do maintenance and IT teams get repeated requests to bring clocks back in sync? The answers to these questions reveal the reliability of your time-tracking system and the overall efficiency of your operations.
Managing out-of-date synchronized clock systems can become a drain on resources and often without a company fully realizing the burden. Beyond wasting staff time, inconsistencies between facility clocks can become a source of liability. In hospitals, time is a critical component of compliance. When did a patient receive medication? How long was a patient under anesthesia? What was the duration and time of coded events? When did hospital staff shift changes occur? In schools, the accuracy of synchronized clocks supports institutional attendance rules, thereby creating more consistency between buildings and classrooms.
In any setting, time synchronization is paramount to safety when mere seconds define the outcome of critical situations. Synchronized and centralized time-tracking systems can help move occupants efficiently, distribute information promptly and review a sequence of events accurately.
Checking in on Your Clock System Performance
The best way to assess your clock system performance is to audit the current technology, devices and staff. Perform visual checks for missing or damaged devices. Speak with staff to determine time allocated to routine and other clock system maintainence. Update the system overview to highlight types of devices installed — wireless, hardwired, analog, digital, etc. — and ensure that you have the entire system documented.
As part of this process, current or future construction can become part of your strategy for the best synchronized clock options for your facility. Consider the following:
Is your current building (or buildings) easy to retrofit for wired systems, or is it best suited for wireless systems?
Are there plans to expand the building or campus, and what demand for clocks will that create?
Once you have a survey on your current clock system, you can determine your system’s performance, current maintenance needs and future demands. Armed with this information, you can choose the best options for types of synchronized clock systems and for new and replacement devices, and you can choose how they integrate with your current and future facility design.
Time to Upgrade or Simply Cleanup?
When surveying your current system, it’s likely that many of the issues that arise are addressed by the system’s annual maintenance. Cleaning up any small maintenance issues, like battery replacements, will allow a more accurate assessment of the system’s performance. Actively resynchronizing any clocks that have drifted from the master time setting also will help reveal any larger system problems.
Where secondary clocks are not synchronized with the master clock, a number of issues may be discovered. The process of checking synchronization requires checking the main clock power supply, battery voltage, settings, ethernet cable connections, GPS antenna placement and cable connections, and a number of other variables, depending on your system design. Through this process, you may learn that your facility has grown beyond its current clock system capacity.
Types of Synchronized Clock Systems
If you determine that it’s time to upgrade, finding the right solutions for your new timekeeping system is easier than you think. Below, we walk through the most common types of synchronized clocks, and how to know which one is best for you.
Power over Ethernet
PoE (Power over Ethernet) is a time synchronization technology that provides versatile solutions. Clocks are connected to the facility network through an Ethernet cable that supplies power and NTP (Network Time Protocol) server updates. As one option from OneVue Sync, PoE technology is energy efficient and makes maintenance easier without the requirement of dedicated AC outlets or batteries. It is a great option to keep challenged areas in sync with the overall time system.
If you’re looking for a unique solution with guaranteed time delivery, look no further than our Bluetooth offering. Bluetooth combines the accuracy and flexibility of our Radio Frequency system with the ability to view clock status anywhere via the OneVue Monitor software system. Designed for small- to medium-sized organizations, Bluetooth uses strategically placed bridges to connect to your IP network and then to OneVue. These bridges also communicate to Bluetooth clocks through a proprietary mesh network designed by Primex. The bridges and clocks wake up once a day to receive time, report status and get feature changes. Otherwise, the system is generally asleep and off your network, ensuring solid security.
OneVue Monitor and Synchronized Timekeeping
Whether your facility’s needs are best suited to PoE, Bluetooth or the OneVue Transmitter technology, all the Primex OneVue Sync solutions work together with OneVue Monitor. Just as this centralized monitoring helps create system efficiencies and improves performance in overall time synchronization, the OneVue Monitor data recording and reporting can help identify the correlation between clock accuracy and other aspects of facility operations.
Effectively, organizations will see the impact on student and occupant safety, patient care, organizational efficiency and operational effectiveness in meeting program goals.
Having the technology you need to accurately and efficiently respond to and document coded events is crucial to the integrity of your healthcare facility. Learn how to leverage cutting-edge solutions to improve Code Blue tracking in this article.
Caring for patients is a taxing and demanding job, especially as medical emergencies such as Code Blues are common occurrences. Care teams must be prepared to jump into action when hospital emergencies occur and be ready to properly administer life-saving care – and document that care – at a moment’s notice. So how can these processes be made more accurate and efficient? In this article, learn the basics of Code Blue response, and how the proper tools and technology are a critical part of documenting an emergency.
How to Run a Code Blue
A patient enters into cardiac arrest in room 427, and you need help. You signal a “Code Blue” alert for a medical emergency over the hospital loudspeaker and activate an elapsed timer to track the incident.
To bring organization to what is often a chaotic and extremely fast-paced Code Blue response by the care team, hospitals are required to maintain an emergency management plan and leverage mass notification tools like Primex OneVue Notify InfoBoard to quickly disperse information about disasters or medical emergencies. Use of the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) standardizes the terminologies used during an emergency and helps to improve a hospital’s response and coordination to emergency situations. With the hospital incident command system, staff have defined responsibilities and roles, thereby ensuring that the right staff are in the right place at the right time.
These protocols, combined with data from the elapsed timer, are crucial to allowing the care team to respond appropriately and administer the correct treatment. For example, if too much time has passed since the Code Blue was first signaled, the care team may be unable to stabilize the patient or prevent brain damage or death. Not only is an easily visible elapsed timer crucial for healthcare staff, but they are also a critical part of documenting when treatments such as epinephrine doses and pulse checks were preformed, and that every attempt to save a patient was made in a timely manner.
Without this data — or by leveraging data from unsynchronized clocks and even wrist watches —healthcare facilities can risk falling out of compliance with industry standards and potentially open themselves up to malpractice suits.
The Role of Technology in Improving Code Blue Response
It is understood that elapsed timers are crucial to Code Blue responses. It is also important, however, to acknowledge that not all elapsed timers are created equal. For example, an elapsed timer that does not “wake up” immediately or that runs slightly slow (or slightly fast) could greatly impact patient care, leading the team to make mistakes that they would not otherwise. This is why leveraging a reliable system like the Primex Elapsed Timer-Levo Series is crucial. These timers can count up or count down to a maximum of 99 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds, as needed, and can be synched with all other clocks on the Primex Sync wireless system via a Bluetooth bridge to ensure time is standardized across your entire facility.
Solutions to Document, Track and Comply
Incident-related documentation is key to adhering to compliance guidelines and tracking hospital emergencies. Job action sheets and general messaging forms should be used to share information about the emergency. Reporting this important information is standard practice and must be completed to adhere to specific state, local and national guidelines. Hospitals also must comply and keep records of a hospital’s Incident Action Plans and other emergency management forms so that they are available down the road. In some instances, hospitals may be required to submit these action and emergency forms to local and state emergency operation centers, depending on the emergency code enacted.
The OneVue Monitor is the ultimate hospital Code Blue tracking solution for healthcare facilities. With this solution, hospital staff can reduce the amount of manual hours spent logging emergency events. The solution archives comprehensive monitoring data and reports so that you have them on hand when you need them to demonstrate compliance to regulatory bodies such as the CDC, FDA, the Joint Commission and others.
The OneVue system allows you to pre-program event codes, and log event responses, giving you the automated information you need during audits. Elapsed timers, crash cart kits and Notify solutions from Primex help your hospital stay connected, alert and prepared for the unexpected.
Caregivers are the heart and soul of any healthcare facility — so enabling them to do their jobs to the best of their ability should be the first priority of facility managers and executives. Learn how automated technology can be used to support them in this article.
Keeping day-to-day hospital operations running while still maintaining the highest quality of patient care is no easy feat. While the health care team on the front lines is working tirelessly to deliver quality patient care, hospital facility managers on the backend are working to ensure the hospital is running like a well-oiled machine. Hospital management teams should prioritize providing clinicians with technology that alleviates the obstacles often associated with staff scheduling, medication delivery and operations.
Here are some of the top considerations healthcare managers should make to ensure the hospital is running smoothly so doctors and nurses can remain focused on patient care.
Put Your Caregiving Staff First
The best facility managers are leaders who relieve staff from everyday tasks such as: operational planning, department organization and managing interactions between caregivers and executives. By engaging physicians to help with the decision-making process, hospitals see increased productivity. Facility managers must be the eyes and ears of clinicians, bringing problems and solutions to executive leadership.
The hospital facilities team is “on” 24/7 and must always be available at a moment’s notice. The facilities manager must be ready to step in to have crucial conversations with senior leadership that help provide staff with essential technologies and solutions that can help improve patient care and alleviate stress in staff.
Improving Outcomes & Supporting Staff
Improving patient outcomes and experiences, as well as reducing costs are all on the forefront of executive leadership’s minds. So how do you create a balance between striving for improvement and cost reductions and still support your clinicians?
Facility managers must build trust with physicians and nurses so that they feel they are treated fairly and listened to when problems with productivity and staffing issues arise.
How Hospital Facility Teams Can Support Clinicians
Clinician shortages, demanding work schedules and appointment delays are all major issues that crop up within the hospital walls. To mitigate physician burnout, the facilities management team must step in to ensure that technological solutions are implemented to ensure physicians can do more with less.
Here’s are a few things to keep in mind when considering facility changes that will impact the day-to-day work of caregivers and clinicians:
Improved Efficiencies and Staff Success
Allow clinical staff and caregivers to review improvement ideas and test out the systems of change — after all, they will be the ones using this. Showing your staff that they fit into the process proves that they are valued by the organization and will help to increase engagement and support.
Implementing solutions that can help save time and decision making will make physicians feel empowered and improve patient care. Avoiding the red tape and solutions that help ease documentation can increase time with the patient and avoid physician fatigue. For example, a modern synchronized clock system ensures on-time patient care and medication delivery, ensure shift changes occur on time and reduce time spent manually logging hours, improving staff success.
Communicate Often and Candidly
Addressing your staff’s concern is an important way to keep your hospital up and running. The communication lines must remain open and facility managers must actively listen and propose solutions that will help healthcare providers focus on patient care. Managers should work to overcome barriers that may impede clinicians from caring for patients.
Provide Support and Education
Physicians may often refrain from telling senior leadership what they need due to doubts of commitment and support from executives and lack or resources. It will be important for clinicians to know that their suggestions and input do not fall on deaf ears. Facility managers must collaborate with clinicians and executive leadership to ensure the best possible resources are provided to staff.
Finding Solutions to Problems
Facility managers must put the right tools in the hands of the front-line caregivers. To do so it will be imperative to identify a support structure and resources so that healthcare providers can do their jobs without worrying about the red tape. Infrastructure change are difficult and takes many conversations, meetings and discussions to implement. While the providers should be involved in the solutions for change, the facility manager should ensure that time is not taken away from the patient. Facility managers should reduce the roadblocks that lead to real change and ensure that caregivers focus on their main priority.
How Primex Can Help
The Primex OneVue system provides a holistic solution to help connect staff with real-time data, provide critical notifications in emergencies, reduce manual logging and increase compliance.
The OneVue Sync solution can increase staff efficiency by keeping the entire facility running on the exact same time, easing documentation challenges with billing and insurance disputes. The OneVue Sense environmental monitors help to protect sensitive materials and prevent the loss of clinical resources. The OneVue Notify InfoBoard system allows hospitals to alert staff and patients to critical situations in seconds with unique visual messaging.OneVue Monitor seamlessly connects them all, aggregating data on coded events, environmental changes, and more for the caregiving staff to access anywhere, anytime.
An out-of-date healthcare facility monitoring system can wreak havoc on caregiving staff – and on your facility’s bottom line. Learn how to tell if your system needs an upgrade, and how automated solutions can transform your hospital or lab.
A key takeaway from 2020 is that healthcare facilities need to be prepared for disruptive events. As facility managers reflect on recent lessons learned, a top priority is to check in on the health of your facility monitoring system and assess the benefits of an upgrade.
The past months have put all facility systems to the test — from training and protocols, to healthcare and hospital technology. We’ve seen staff time overburdened and technology that fell short of demand. All of this experience presents the opportunity to identify areas for improvement and where to invest resources for future preparedness.
In this article, we’ll explore how to examine your current facility environmental monitoring system, and how to know if it’s time for an upgrade.
Is Your Facility Running on Efficiency?
Patient care improves when physician and staff time is freed up from administrative tasks and can focus on consultation, diagnosis and treatment. The bar for healthcare quality rises as hospital technology follows innovation to meet changing demands. When looking at potential new strategies and solutions, there are a few key indicators to determine if your facility can benefit from automated monitoring technology.
For starters, try to get a sense of the staff’s bandwidth monitoring and recording coded events or environmental changes consumes during the day. Ask your team.
How much care provider time is spent on manual tasks that could be automated?
Is staff manually checking environmental conditions such as isolation room pressure or medication storage area temperature?
How are alerts and notifications of emergencies or special status communicated?
If staff is overextended managing conditions and communications, it may be time to adopt a new approach to your hospital technology and environmental monitoring system.
The Importance of Automated Environmental Monitoring
An outcome of the recent pandemic is a heightened focus on the importance of environmental monitoring in healthcare facilities. With the increased demand for isolation rooms and ICU beds, more restrictive visitor policies and additional protocols that tax caregiver time, the healthcare landscape is more resource-intensive than ever before. Facility managers can play an essential role in the overall quality of healthcare by implementing automated environmental monitoring systems and restoring the precious resource of time back into the hands of caregivers.
In times of increased and intensive healthcare demand, professionals focus on providing care with the resources available. For example, if a facility is monitoring differential pressure with ball-in-wall technology which requires visual verification at each location, caregivers will use that indicator for infection control measures. If vaccine storage requires a visual check to ensure temperature and humidity, staff time will be allocated.
Event documentation, emergency communications and protocol compliance reporting are all part of healthcare operations that consume staff time. However, given the context of a global health crisis and recent advances in hospital technology, healthcare facilities will need to turn to automated facility monitoring in order to run efficiently, retain staff and remain vital.
Taking Control of Facility Monitoring With OneVue
Digital solutions like Primex OneVue Monitor provide automated environmental monitoring that can gather data from a range of easy-to-install sensors and devices into a user-friendly platform. The solution works with OneVue Sense’s medical grade range of environmental sensors, including differential pressure sensors to replace those ball-in-the-wall units and temperature sensors specifically designed to monitor the storage of sensitive assets like samples and medication. Within the system, sensors can be installed throughout a hospital or healthcare facility to monitor temperature, humidity, water leaks, capacity and access of buildings and controlled rooms. The automation of tracking allows key staff to be alerted when a breach of any kind occurs, whether a change to conditions in a pressurized room or a jump in temperature or humidity of a storage area.
Primex OneVue can also help streamline communications throughout a healthcare facility, notifying special conditions or emergency situations. The OneVue Notify InfoBoard can help hospitals contain disease and control visitor access through visual displays. The displays are easily installed and provide fast, effective notifications that can be institution-wide or customized per location. As a connected device, the timeline of events is documented providing crucial information for reporting and for future improvements. Caregivers can also benefit from using OneVue Sync to record patient events, medication delivery, testing and other procedures. Sync helps improve the accuracy of documentation of coded events, personnel shift changes and support time-based billing and insurance disputes. With the additional assurance of OneVue Sync, crucial documentation of events is recorded and accurate.
Through environmental monitoring, data collection, reporting and effective communications, Primex OneVue helps healthcare facilities centralize information. This ability greatly reduces the burden on caregivers to manually monitor or document conditions and events. Conditions and events can be easily monitored from any device whether PC, tablet or phone. Connected to the OneVue Monitor, this information hub empowers managers, creates greater staff efficiency and allows teams to focus on strategies to improve operational efficiency and, most importantly, patient care.
Ready to learn how Primex can take your facility to the next level? Contact us today!
No matter what type of facility you work within, championing innovation and spearheading organization-wide change can feel like a full-time job. We’ll give you four recommendations you need to help your initiatives succeed and firmly establish you as a thought leader on your team.
Suppose you want to install an integrated state-of-the-art system that will eliminate manual monitoring, provide robust reporting capabilities, and, best of all, save money. Whether you’re working on corporate innovation, hospital innovation or new technology on campus, you’ll need to actively champion your cause. This means getting employees to make the best use of the new system and realize the benefits the new technology can offer.
If the technology adoption lifecycle model holds for your organization, about half of your employees are at least open to new ideas, and some are even enthusiastic. Can you turn the other 50 percent into early adopters? Probably not. They’ll come around, however, as the initiative catches on. It’s worth the effort to bring people on board. Facilities are typically the second largest expense for any organization behind employees. When you invest in technology, you want it to pay dividends and deliver value.
Here are four ways you can garner widespread acceptance and adoption for your monitoring system.
1. Do the Prep Work
Change is constant. There will never be a perfect time to present your case for innovation or an overhaul of existing systems. Make sure the organization is not in chaos. Then, before you make a formal pitch, take the following steps:
Support your well-conceived plan with a business case bolstered by attainable numbers. How much time can you save when you, for example, eliminate manual logging?
Align the objectives of your initiative to support the vision of the organization. How will the new monitoring system support, for example, the mission to “promote accessible, affordable health care”?
Make sure you have the bandwidth to take on the initiative
Garner support from members of your team who embrace the concept of data-centered facilities management
Vet your facilities management technology solution among your peers, mentors and other influencers to gain preliminary support
Once you’ve accomplished all of the above, you’re ready to seek high-level approval.
2. Cultivate a Sponsor
Identify decision-makers or influencers at a high level who will support the technology solution throughout the organization. Your sponsor must be willing and able to wield power and use it to help your technology solution move forward despite internal challenges. As you develop standardized processes and reports, you may be surprised to discover that there is a lack of consensus between departments. Sponsors play a key role in resolving conflict.
The biggest challenge for any sponsor is that they already have a day job. Remember that the sponsor doesn’t directly manage. Rather, they help create an environment where the initiative can succeed. So, you’ll need to make sure you keep your sponsor’s interest and attention. Failure to do so could mean that your innovation loses out to other competing interests. Here are some important guidelines:
Involve your sponsor early and often, not just on project milestones
Align technology project goals closely with the sponsor’s objectives as well as those of the organization. Ask yourself: Is your sponsor concerned with lean processes, competitive advantage, or some other priority?
Agree on parameters for time commitments
Brief your sponsor before interactions with stakeholders and technology partners to manage expectations and avoid miscommunication
The sponsor must be willing to walk the walk. This means demonstrating a visible and vested interest in the technology through their actions. Further, your sponsor provides high-level leadership, secures financial resources, and helps garner support from the front line to the boardroom.
3. Develop Better Processes
When you take inefficient processes and make them faster, you can only expect incremental improvements. Yet, in reality, these are frequently the first tentative steps an organization takes toward innovation. But, if you intend to realize the promised benefits of your cutting-edge technology, you’ll want to improve your processes. To start:
Examine your manual logs to develop benchmarks
Look for areas that incur higher operational expenses
Based on your benchmarks, set standards to improve operations, cut costs, and add value for those who use the facilities
Gather input from departments that are affected by the new technology
Assign a process improvement team to execute this critical function. They will help ensure that the new technology boosts efficiency and profitability. Involve actual users on the team to build additional internal support for the monitoring system.
4. Recruit Other Champions
Find other people to promote your initiative. Involve those who may raise objections early in the process. Once they get involved, they may turn into your biggest cheerleaders. At the very least, they are unlikely to go along with a group consensus just to be agreeable. You will appreciate the challenge to conventional thinking. Also, recruit informal leaders into your champion group, those people who have no actual authority but are able to influence others, nonetheless.
Here are three ways to cultivate superstar champions:
Meet with them regularly, listen to their suggestions and concerns, and put them to work addressing issues
Promote their contributions to your sponsor and throughout the organization
Celebrate early successes as a group. Did you complete your project plan? Take the team out to lunch.
With these tips in mind, you should have the tools you need to lay the groundwork for meaningful change and innovation at your facility. What you need now is a solutions- and service-focused partner to help you bring the cause home. If you’re considering technological innovations that can save your facility management team both time and money, be sure to check out Primex. Whether you need to improve your communication systems, keep accurate time or implement better environmental controls, Primex can help.
The Internet of Things (IoT) will soon be a part of nearly every aspect of everyday life — campuses included. The ability to utilize the IoT is a key component in the safety and efficiency of education facilities. Is your campus ready?
Our everyday lives have become dependent on interconnected data sources, both official and informal. In 2015, there were more than 13.4 billion devices connected globally and that number is expected to triple by the end of 2020. The Internet of Things (IoT) now enables us to connect our built environment to the digital world. This capability can be harnessed by the education industry to create safe, efficient campus environments.
The need to provide data, instructions and time-sensitive notifications to occupants of education facilities is a challenge in an era of accelerating change. It is also pivotal to the ongoing management and future modeling of how education facilities can support learning while ensuring campus safety and driving innovation in facilities management.
The adoption of comprehensive technology solutions that monitor and store data collected from the IoT can empower managers of education facilities. By implementing IoT-enabled devices, education facilities can control operating costs, improve campus safety, track events and resources and provide greater access to information.
IoT’s Impact on Education Environments
The Internet of Things (IoT) is already a permanent fixture in the education industry, through personal devices and connections, and increasingly through the physical components — appliances, computers, HVAC, vehicles — that comprise a school or campus. As long-term strategies for environmental, social and financial integrity expand to all facets of school facilities and programs, the need for comprehensive data solutions becomes more essential.
Advancements in the scale and accessibility of technology over the past two decades have enabled this widespread connectivity of devices. From personal phones to wellness monitors to ‘smart’ vending machines, the convergence of data sources has become embedded in academic settings.
IoT For Campus Facilities Management
In facilities management, the IoT has already been integrated into building systems controls for lighting, HVAC, and other mechanical equipment. It is also used to increase security measures through connected door locks, access control and video surveillance. Facilities that are behind the curve in adoption of IoT will see a widening gap as the campus setting continues to grow more connected.
IoT Solutions for Greener Education Facilities
The rise of green building has set standards for more energy-efficient buildings, creating a roadmap through the construction or renovation phase. However, once high-occupancy buildings and multi-building campuses become operational, efficiency is affected by myriad variables like occupant behavior. This is where the IoT comes in.
Connected technology, such as sensors that monitor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), helps gather and document building data to inform long-term energy strategies that optimize operations, helping your campus run smoothly and more efficiently. Environmental monitoring can be applied at any scale of operation within the education industry, from small K–12 schools to higher education campuses.
One of the top concerns for schools and campuses is safety on a daily basis, as well as in times when an emergency situation makes seconds count. Emergencies may include inclement weather, a building fire, an active shooter or other possible situations where immediate and clear communication can save lives. Connection to the IoT allows critical information to be verified and relayed, greatly improving emergency preparedness on campus.
How to Harness IoT Power on Campus
The growing expectation of school technology is to have the ability to oversee and monitor all aspects of information resources, emergency notifications, environmental quality, occupancy information and even transit data at the touch of a button. Solutions such as Primex OneVue provide facility managers, safety managers, teachers, administrators and students with the information they need. Our Primex OneVue Monitor software allows the various hardware your facility needs to run smoothly and efficiently — such as synchronized clocks, environmental sensors, message boards, and more — to become a part of the IoT.
The system works synergistically with the Primex OneVue Sense suite of environmental sensors so you can monitor temperature, humidity, water leaks and access of buildings and controlled rooms. The automation of tracking allows facilities managers to focus on continuous improvements armed with comprehensive information on how a building or campus is performing.
Primex OneVue is also an ally in effective campus communications. The OneVue Notify InfoBoard can help schools implement emergency response plans with precision. Visual, synchronized displays can be used to alert staff, students and visitors of what to do next in any given emergency. The displays are easily installed and provide fast, effective notifications that can be institution-wide or customized per location using the Monitor software. As a connected device, the timeline of events is documented providing crucial information for reporting and for future improvements.
Through environmental monitoring, data collection, reporting and effective communications, Primex OneVue helps schools centralize information. Connected to the campus IoT, this information hub empowers managers, creates greater staff efficiency and allows teams to focus on strategies to improve financial performance, operational efficiency and occupant experience.
The initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for infection control measures in healthcare facilities. The pandemic response will continue to be a priority over the next 18-24 months and place additional pressure on staff, supplies and resources. Compounding this strain is the fact that hospitals will face new challenges in facilities and infection control management as restrictions on non-essential activities and elective care start to ease. This new normal will require ongoing attention on hospital environmental services, disease control, treatment and prevention.
Healthcare facilities must prepare for this next phase armed with strategic protocols and tools. With increased need for environmental control, the use of integrated environmental monitoring systems, visual communications and cutting-edge software can help manage infection control, patient isolation and vaccination storage. Systems such as Primex OneVue will be key components in successful facilities management enabling healthcare leaders to focus on the well-being and safety of patients, visitors and staff.
Next Waves and New Challenges
As the current pandemic shifts into a new phase, healthcare leaders are determining how to level up their facilities to bring valueable lessons learned into the next era of patient care. They will need to prepare for increased trauma patients and psychiatric patients, replenishment of PPE and hospital environmental services capacity, among a myriad of other new concerns. These challenges are immediate and will be considerations for future preparedness planning.
The new healthcare landscape requires the ability to effectively manage infection control between critical or infectious patients and non-critical patients, scale up the size of isolation areas and provide increased storage for supplies and vaccines. Hospitals and healthcare facilities must ask themselves if they are prepared to address the following questions:
● How will we manage the flow of patients to reduce chances of infection?
● Will we need separate entrances for non-essential surgeries and appointments?
● How will we notify staff, patients and visitors quickly of an infectious disease event?
● Are the tools we currently have properly equipped to manage and monitor infectious disease spread?
● Will these tools be able to help us comply with stricter infectious disease prevention measures?
● How will we ensure we have enough capacity to safely store sensitive assets like vaccines and patient samples?
● How will we ensure our caregivers properly manage their time and coded events in the middle of high-stress situations?
Essentially, hospitals face increased demand on all resources. Automated environmental monitoring can provide essential infection-control measures and asset protection while alleviating some of the pressure on caregivers.
Environmental Monitoring in the New Normal
Now, more than ever, environmental monitoring and control are an essential part of day-to-day hospital and healthcare facility operations. The increased need for negative pressure isolation rooms, new restrictions on visiting hours and larger climate-controlled storage capacity are all elements that will need to be managed for the foreseeable future.
The implementation of automated differential pressure sensors, coupled with temperature and humidity monitoring for air quality and temperature monitoring for refrigerated storage can support the new standards of high-level healthcare. Primex OneVue provides a comprehensive solution to these new and ongoing challenges.
Additionally, Primex OneVue Sync can include a synchronized clock system with analog or digital displays to help staff and visitors with time management. When alerts and messaging are needed, the OneVue Notify InfoBoard can relay immediate visual notification that aligns protocol in busy environments. The InfoBoards provides individual patient status, such as ‘isolation’, or can quickly disperse facility-wide alerts. Both the OneVue Sync and Notify InfoBoard solutions provide the precision time synchronization needed to keep concise documentation of events.
OneVue Environmental Monitoring Sensors, as well as OneVue Sync and Notify InfoBoard displays, can be easily installed throughout a facility with minimal requirements. The sensors are designed to be portable and can be quickly removed for use in a different location if needed. Combined with the OneVue Monitor software application, the system can be customized to capture relevant information, create targeted data reports and send alert notifications to system administrators via call, text or email.
As healthcare facilities adapt to new standards of infection control measures, precision environmental monitoring tools that support new protocols and strategies increasingly become essential. Primex OneVue provides the tools needed to meet new regulatory guidelines and deliver the highest level of environmental integrity for patients, staff and critical resources.
School nurses and administrators face a challenging summer as they prepare for schools to reopen. To ensure safety measures are properly met, administrators and teachers must work to build and adopt school policies to keep students and faculty healthy and safe. Applying effective infection prevention practices on campus will play a critical role in minimizing the spread of infection.
Existing school safety and infectious disease procedures should be revisited and revised to incorporate important data and guidelines put forth by the CDC and local health officials. Cooperation from students and faculty will be imperative as school staff work to comply with state and local regulations to help stop the spread of infection on campus.
This article aims to give school administrators and nursing staff a place to start to ensure their campus has the infrastructure they need to prevent the spread of disease — and the buy-in from students, faculty and families needed in order to make reopening successful.
Student and Staff Behaviors to Help Limit the Spread
Personal prevention tactics, including handwashing and staying home when sick as well as environmental behaviors, such as cleaning and disinfecting common areas and proper ventilation must be implemented to help limit the spread as schools reopen. To ensure this happens, schools will need to be prepared to provide for the following concerns.
It will be important for schools to reinforce proper handwashing techniques with staff and students. To do so, schools must have adequate supplies to encourage this behavior, including soap and water or hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol (if soap and water are not available).
Signs and Messaging
To reinforce the messages and behaviors that can help prevent the spread, the CDC recommends that schools post signs in very visible locations to promote proactive measures like hand washing and social distancing measures. Schools should provide physical guides and signage to ensure that students and staff maintain proper social distancing while walking in the hallways, in lines and at other times during the day. Schools should create digital and physical signage to remind students to remain socially distant from one another.
Leveraging a message system like Primex OneVue Notify InfoBoard displays are an excellent way to communicate messages to every corner of your campus at once. In addition to displaying general messaging and critical notifications in emergency situations , these InfoBoards can help cut through the noise and visual clutter in classrooms and hallways to effectively deliver crucial messages to help prevent the spread of disease.
Environmental Behaviors to Limit the Spread
Several strategies will be necessary to maintain a healthy school environment. These practices should include the following:
Cleaning and Disinfecting Common Areas. The CDC recommends that schools implement best practices while cleaning and disinfecting common areas and frequently touched surfaces such as door handles and drinking fountains. The school should create a schedule for routine disinfecting of these areas and the reopening plan should include the proper methods to store cleaning products safely.
Ventilation. To reduce the spread of respiratory droplets into the air, the reopening plan should include the proper ventilation of the school building. Outdoor air should circulate as much as possible through ventilation systems. Inside, schools should make use of indoor temperature and humidity sensors to ensure the climate is optimized to prevent the spread of disease.
How School Nurses can prepare for Reopening
Establishing Isolation Areas
School nurses should establish isolation areas for students and staff that may exhibit infectious disease symptoms during school hours. As school nurses turn areas into isolation rooms, utilizing environmental monitoring solutions can help schools to comply with environmental standards and policies set forth by the CDC and local health officials. Pairing sensors with a software solution like Primex OneVue Monitor provides alerts when temperature, pressure, humidity, and other environmental levels are out of range, allowing nursing staff to easily ensure compliance even when they are away from their office.
Utilizing the Proper PPE
School nurses should ensure that the school has the proper PPE equipment prior to reopening. The CDC offers recommendations on what equipment that could be beneficial for healthcare staff. These include:
● N95 Surgical masks vs. cloth masks which will be determined based on social distancing efforts
● NASN Facemask consideration
● Gowns — use of cloth covering as an alternative option
Ample Storage for Vaccines and Medications
As more is learned about the proper ways to treat infections diseases, it will be important for school nurses to expand storage for vaccines and medications as schools reopen. Antibody/antigen testing and vaccine administration may take place at schools. It will be important the school nurses implement guidelines on the proper storing of cleaning solutions and medications — this will include augmenting temperature monitoring solutions with digital solutions.
Infection Control Management: The New Normal
School administrators and school nurses are facing an uphill battle as we deal with the rapid spread of infectious diseases across the world. As the doors reopen, schools will be instrumental in helping to keep their communities healthy and will play a large role in preventing the spread of infection. To break the chain of infection, schools will need to be up to date on cleaning procedures, hygiene measures, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
School nurses and administrators will need to adapt to the current climate to keep staff and students safe and healthy. According to the National Association of School Nurses, part of the school reopening plan should include the adoption of quality improvement and data collection policies to comply with state and federal regulations.
The Primex OneVue system provides a holistic solution to help keep students and staff safe and healthy. The OneVue Monitor system helps to simplify administration and monitoring by easily producing data and reports so that administrators can adhere to state and federal regulations.
For additional information about how you can implement the OneVue System on your campus to help protect your school from a possible outbreak, visit https://www.primexinc.com/education.
Whether your facility uses manually-intensive, paper-based logs or a digital tool to track data, chances are that data contains a goldmine of information you can leverage to save your facility precious time and resources. The right data allows you to ensure that your procedures are efficient, safe and cost-effective.
Do you want your data to show you the money? This article will lay out four key areas to look into to see where you could save some cash. We’ll also discuss how to ensure you are collecting the right data in the first place so you can continue to ensure your facility runs as efficiently as possible.
1. Custodial Staffing
Maintenance consumes roughly a quarter of your custodial payroll spend. Along with routine repair and upkeep, these activities may include:
Monitoring environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, water leaks, etc.
Maintaining event logs and updating service records
Conducting safety checks in remote areas of the campus
Creating incident, compliance and regulatory reports
Research shows that one large district will spend $327,600 for custodians to monitor, log and report — and that’s a conservative estimate!
2. Food Storage
Much of the waste on campus food is due to portion policies, ill-timed lunch periods, and picky appetites. Some of the waste, however, results from food stored at the wrong temperatures. The ingredients that go into a K-12 school lunch cost, on average, $1.70 per meal. Based on 30 million lunches, that’s approximately $51 million. This doesn’t include school breakfasts or meals served in post-secondary campuses nationwide.
When refrigerators fail, it’s not just the price of a hamburger patty that alarms school management. The CDC estimates that 48 million people each year are sickened from food. Foodborne illnesses are not just responsible for upset stomachs and diarrhea — sometimes they are deadly.
3. Medication Safeguarding and Storage
Of the 73 million children living in the U.S., nearly 19% require some type of medication. Some medications, such as insulin and liquid antibiotics, need refrigeration. Medication stored at the wrong temperature, just like food, must be discarded. Refrigerated or not, schools must also take measures to prevent theft. Prescription drugs, such as Ritalin and Adderall, are often targeted for theft due to their high resale value.
In Virginia, an unscrupulous school employee stole student medications, replacing them with anything from Aleve to generic sedatives. Unfortunately, these are not isolated occurrences. In addition to the cost of replacement, there is also the liability a school could incur if a student misses a dose or receives counterfeit medication.
4. Environmental Hazards
Even a small, undetected water leak can create a hazard. A school in Portland, Oregon learned that lesson firsthand when mold and mildew caused by a leaky roof forced them to vacate. A month later, and relieved of $1.4 million in roof replacement costs, they were able to return to the elementary school.
Mold and dampness in buildings is linked to respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma, targeting the most vulnerable students. During the pandemic, too, it’s not hard to imagine that such an outbreak could mimic COVID-19 symptoms, triggering a wave of concern throughout campus.
Better Data, More Money
There is money in the numbers — the intelligence you gleam from data can drive better decisions, helping:
Reduce the amount of time spend on monitoring, reporting and other non-value-added tasks
Eliminate food spoilage due to malfunctioning refrigerators
Store and safeguard student medications
Detect water leaks before they cause significant damage
The facilities staff cannot be everywhere all the time. So, how do you address these matters in the most cost-effective manner possible?
The Right Facilities Management Data Drives Cost-Effective Solutions
Primex OneVue has solutions that save schools time and money. OneVue Sense offers a selection of sensors that provide the data you require. For example:
OneVue Temperature Sensors provide 24/7 assurance that student medications are stored at the appropriate temperature and humidity levels.
OneVue Contact Closure Sensors detect the opening and closing of refrigerator and cabinet doors, providing an alert that can help prevent unauthorized or unscheduled access.
OneVue Temperature and Humidity sensors can ensure your campus stays at a safe temperature level to minimize the spread of infection and maximize student and faculty comfort, without running up unnecessary heating/air costs.
Primex OneVue Suite Provides Optimal Data Control
Primex OneVue Monitor pulls it all together, synthesizing valuable information from the sensor data across your campus. This puts all of the data required for critical facilities decisions at your fingertips. You and your staff share a systematic view of the campus from any web-enabled device, whether on site or from home. With its robust reporting capabilities, you can produce compliance and regulatory reports in minutes. Plus, OneVue Monitor alerts your staff by email, text or phone when something goes wrong.
If you’d like to learn more about how Primex OneVue can help you save money, please contact us today.
EHS management just got a bit more complicated. Ready or not, school bells will eventually ring on campuses from Maine to California. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a push for normalcy during a time when life is anything but.
The environmental, health and safety (EHS) systems and protocols put in place by campus administrators and facility managers to ensure student safety have never been more critical than they are as schools prepare to reopen their doors. EHS management is uniquely entrusted with the well-being of millions of students, whether they occupy a kindergarten classroom or comprise a cohort of doctoral candidates.
From the operational to the environmental, detailed plans will keep classrooms healthy as we battle new and emerging health threats. EHS management will be called upon to use every available technology to facilitate the plan.
What can Primex OneVue do to help EHS management keep students safe and flatten the curve? Plenty. Here are two of the measures that EHS management will need to support.
Staggered Start Times and A/B Days
Some campuses, such as the North Carolina public school system, plan to implement a split schedule when they open their doors back up to students and faculty. Students will go to school one day and study from home the next. This A/B split facilitates social distancing. On the opposite coast, California governor Gavin Newsom is recommending staggered start times to help keep students, families, and teachers the recommended 6 feet apart. While optimal to prevent the spread of disease, both of these solutions present quite a challenge for students and faculty.
With Primex OneVue, it doesn’t have to be a problem for EHS management.
OneVue Sync for Accurate Scheduling
With changing and unfamiliar schedules, Primex’s OneVue Sync solution keeps students and staff on track and on time. OneVue Sync ensures that all your bells and clocks operate in lockstep. Using OneVue Sync, your facility can flawlessly execute staggered start time arrivals and departures, ensuring that everyone stays as safe as possible.
OneVue Notify Handle Complexity
The OneVue Notify PrimexEVENT Bell Controller gives you the flexibility to create standard or custom ring patterns or change schedules at a moment’s notice. No matter how complex your schedule, PrimeEvent Bell Controller makes it easy. Using their simple web-based interface, EHS staff can do it all seamlessly.
And when you need to communicate? From grade schools to universities across the country, OneVue Notify InfoBoards are used to communicate in emergency situations such as a school evacuation or lockdown. There’s more: Notify InfoBoards also can be used to communicate ongoing messages regarding, for example, A/B day schedules, proper handwashing and reminders to social distance.
Flashing alerts help reach the hearing-impaired, as well as those students who may be distracted by their mobile devices, especially in a noisy setting.
OneVue Monitor Facilitates a Campus-Wide View
OneVue Monitor provides the data and reports you need to track increasingly complex schedules in one place. The system also alerts you when there are low or lost signals, so you can be assured that your InfoBoards and clocks remain operational. Monitor can even issue post-incident reports so you’ll know if an event occurred while you were off campus. These reports can then be used to report to officials that an event occurred, the time it was triggered, how long it lasted and when an all-clear was posted. From any location on your desktop or mobile device, you can monitor exactly what’s going on throughout your campus to ensure your institution stays in compliance with Department of Education requirements.
Tighter Environmental Control
Although we know a lot about controlling the spread of infectious diseases, we don’t know everything. One thing is certain, however: As researchers learn more and more about viruses, there will be widespread implications for campus EHS management as they develop and refine infection control precautions.
Some progress is being made in the race to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Yet, the debate over how best to prevent infection will continue for the foreseeable future, and tight infection control precautions will need to be in place until a reliable vaccine can be released. But even prior to the outbreak, experts agreed that low humidity can facilitate transmission. Dr. Stephanie Taylor, Harvard Medical School lecturer, says, “Transmission is greater in dry air, infectivity is higher in dry air, and the ability of a human being to fight infection is impaired.”
EHS managers are one step ahead of the game when they implement monitoring systems to ensure that campus buildings are well-ventilated and maintained at ambient temperatures and humidity levels that inhibit the spread of the virus.
OneVue Sense for Optimal Classrooms
Primex’s OneVue Sense suite of environmental monitors provide 365-day, 24/7 peace of mind. When paired with OneVue Monitor software, OneVue Indoor Air Quality sensors allow your staff to easily monitor the ambient temperature and humidity even while they’re away.
The OneVue Sense portfolio also includes sensors that alert you to other environmental risks, including:
The security of your doors and windows;
The presence of undetected moisture or water leaks; and
The monitoring of freezer and refrigerator temperatures to ensure the safe preservation of cafeteria foods, as well as medications that may be stored in the nurse’s office.
Bring It All Together With OneVue Monitor
OneVue Monitor puts all your data on one dashboard, eliminating the need for time-consuming manual monitoring, and reducing the risk and cost of operations. With the data right at your fingertips, you can easily demonstrate compliance with any state or federal regulations.
As schools resume normal operations, they must continue to perform the critical function of educating children and young adults despite the health challenges. As always, EHS management has the important responsibility of maintaining safe and healthy campuses.
The current demands on healthcare administrators and caregivers call for holistic solutions to infection control in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Integrated monitoring systems provide the needed tools to meet regulatory guidelines and ensure the highest level of environmental control and safety.
Within the context of a global pandemic, the ability to control healthcare facility environments is more crucial than ever. The implementation of automated differential pressure sensors, coupled with temperature and humidity monitoring for air quality and temperature monitoring for refrigerated storage, is critical to the management of airborne contaminants and ensuring that samples and medications are properly handled.
Here is what facility managers need to know:
Environmental Precision and Safety Through Room Pressure Monitoring
An essential step to control infection within a healthcare facility is to isolate contaminants. The use of negative pressure isolation rooms is critical to preventing the escape of contaminants from areas where infected patients are being treated. By creating air pressure differentials between isolation rooms and adjacent areas, airborne infections can be contained and mitigated. As air particles naturally flow from higher to lower pressure areas, the pressure difference between rooms prevents outward air flow.
The critical nature of these isolation rooms means it is not enough to have only periodic check-ins to ensure differential pressure has remained consistent. Instead, automated differential pressure monitoring allows the consistent analysis of air flow, alerting hospital facility managers and caregivers when parameters fall out of range. This eliminates the need to dedicate additonal resources to manually monitor the integrity of a room’s conditioned environment, allowing crucial caregivers t to focus on patient care.
Temperature and Humidity Control for Environmental Integrity
In addition to monitoring differential pressure to ensure the efficacy of isolation and clean rooms, it is critical for facility managers to monitor temperature and humidity to maintain control of indoor air quality across the entire unit. The OneVue Sense Temperature and Humidity Sensor provides assurance that conditions meet environmental requirements for disease control, as well as staff and patient safety. This ensures that every area of a hospital is compliant with environmental best practices, keeping everyone safe both in and outside of isolation rooms.
Temperature Control for Critical Medications and Samples
In parallel with patient isolation and managing the environment to control disease spread, the proper storage of medications, laboratory samples and vaccines plays a critical role in the treatment and elimination of infection. Temperature fluctuations can compromise the viability of samples or the efficacy of medications. Specific requirements for storage must be maintained to support patient care and create effective outcomes of infection treatment. The OneVue Sense Temperature Sensor monitors storage conditions, records data and alerts staff to changes that are out of range.
Moisture Control in Field Hospitals
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for alternative care sites and field hospitals during elevated healthcare demand. Where permanent facilities have extensive design and engineering planning processes, temporary facilities are constructed under severe time and resource constraints. The building envelopes and HVAC systems of permanent hospitals offer substantially higher levels of moisture control than alternative care sites and field hospitals.
At the same time, temporary healthcare facilities must adhere to similar levels of environmental control in order to be effective. Water leaks into treatment areas are of greater risk, and moisture control is more vulnerable in these settings. The placement of OneVue Sense Water Leak sensors throughout temporary facilities can alert staff to any compromised areas and ensure prompt remediation.
Primex OneVue Sensing and Monitoring System
At the forefront of environmental monitoring solutions is the Primex OneVue Monitor which provides automated remote monitoring of all environmental control data. As a comprehensive healthcare data solution, the system can be configured with temperature/humidity, differential pressure, temperature, water leak and contact closure sensors to meet all the requirements for infection control and policy compliance.
OneVue sensors can be easily installed throughout a facility with minimal effort. The sensors are designed to be portable and can be quickly removed for use in a different location if needed. Combined with the OneVue Monitor software application, the system can be customized to capture relevant information, create targeted data reports and send alert notifications to system administrators via call, text or email.
Increasing demand and regulation for infectious disease control have reached unprecedented . Immediate operational needs deserve precision tools and resources that support the objectives of patient care facilities. Preparedness for pandemic management has become an essential part of all hospital and healthcare facility operations, requiring immediate operational needs for precision tools and resources to support the objective of patient care facilities.
For additional information about how you can implement Primex OneVue solutions, please contact us today!
Campus facilities departments are generally overworked and loaded with EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) management responsibilities—everything from emergency evacuation plans to making sure the school bell rings precisely at 2:45. This is while ensuring that every department is in sync, maintaining great facilities with tight budgets, and planning the next generation of capital improvements.
As a campus facilities manager, there are many crucial functions to perform, not to mention the prioritization of last-minute work orders that arrive on yellow sticky notes. It’s a big job to keep the campus safe. While buildings technology takes much of the guesswork out of maintaining newer buildings, many of the older facilities require a lot of routine maintenance. If only there was a system to make quick work of the day-to-day issues that burn up so much of the week. Wouldn’t that allow more time for the most critical functions?
Primex OneVue is your holistic solution to managing the campus and keeping students and faculty safe. The system allows you to seamlessly connect your operating environment across all departments, keeping your facility running smoothly. OneVue data is current and in real-time, providing alerts via text, email or phone.
Primex’s OneVue system includes:
OneVue Notify: Provides visual communication and critical alerts to quickly reach everyone on your campus to keep them informed and safe.
OneVue Sense: Provides real-time data to monitor the campus environment using secure, state-of-the-art wireless sensors.
OneVue Sync: Provides a synchronized time solution, keeping students and staff on schedule no matter what area of the campus they’re in.
OneVue Monitor: Brings all of your OneVue data together, providing the information you need to track compliance and optimize your facility management via on-demand reports and customized alerts.
Here’s how it works.
OneVue Notify: The emergency notification system
Experts advise that your best chance of surviving an active shooter is preparation. In order to be prepared, though, you need situational awareness. This is just as true in the case of dangerous weather conditions. For those times when you need information dispersed across the campus immediately, OneVue Notify is the system you can rely on when every second counts.
OneVue Notify InfoBoards allow your message to break through the noise in bustling classrooms and hallways, as well as reach the hearing impaired. Visual notices display around the entire campus within seconds, helping to save lives. The sooner students and staff know what to do, the safer they will be. Notify InfoBoards can also be used to meet your campus’s general messaging needs, allowing you to communicate special events and change in schedules via custom messaging.
OneVue Sense: The Environmental Monitoring Solution
According to researchers at the Harvard Kennedy School, uncomfortably hot temperatures can inhibit a student’s ability to learn — no surprise there. Warm and humid environments can also compound the spread of infectious disease, so keeping a close watch on temperature and humidity levels across campus can minimize the spread of airborne contaminants, keeping students and staff as safe as possible. OneVue Sense offers continuous environmental monitoring so you can be sure that all buildings are maintained at the appropriate air temperature, cafeterias comply with food storage regulations, and doors and windows are locked in isolated areas. This eliminates time-consuming foot patrols to remote areas of the campus.
OneVue Sense facilitates the monitoring of your building’s technology, including:
Water leak detectors to ensure that basement and HVAC rooms are dry, providing early detection to minimize damage
Contact closure sensors to detect when windows, cabinets, or doors, including refrigeration units, are opened or closed
OneVue Sync: The Synchronized Timekeeping Solution
An accurate clock system helps keep your school productive and running according to schedule. A staggered lunch schedule is no problem when your clocks are in sync. Whether you prefer the sleek design of a digital display or favor the more traditional analog option, OneVue Sync has easily-installed timepieces to suit your aesthetics. You can even put the school logo on your clocks.
OneVue clocks help maintain precise schedules throughout the campus. Need to meet the requirements of the US Department of Education for standardized testing? OneVue has you covered with synchronized timers that provide countdown and count up accuracy.
You can mix and match or expand your clock system as needed. In cases of power outages or seasonal time adjustments, OneVue clocks synchronize automatically. Even more, when you pair your timepieces with OneVue Notify InfoBoards, you have a reliable way to send synchronized alerts across the largest of campuses in seconds.
Finally, bring all of your data together with OneVue Monitor. OneVue Monitor provides, your staff a shared view of your school from any device, anywhere. They don’t even have to be on site. Monitor allows Facilities Management and Campus Safety to coordinate, using real-time data, saving precious time in the event of an emergency. OneVue Monitor gives you the 24/7 control you require.
The net result is that you will:
Minimize time spent doing manual reporting and monitoring, and exercise greater control over operating expenses.
Easily provide the reports needed to meet current or future compliance regulations.
Detect minor problems before they become expensive issues.
Reduce the risk of labor-intensive manual tracking that is prone to human error and eats into valuable staff bandwidth.
Analyze historical trends and make data-based decisions that will increase efficiencies across the entire facility.
But, perhaps, even more importantly, you will give students and staff what they desire most — to be able to focus on learning in a safe environment. It’s what every campus strives to achieve. In an emergency, you can’t afford to lose precious time. Give your students the safety and security they deserve with OneVue.
For both permanent and temporary field healthcare treatment centers battling infectious diseases such as what we experienced with COVID-19, health facilities management has never been more critical for protecting patients and healthcare workers. EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) managers are charged with managing indoor air quality including air pressure, temperature and humidity. Leveraging data to track performance and compliance is essential to managing outbreaks and infectious diseases. But doing so accurately and efficiently can often feel like an impossible task.
With the right monitoring systems in place, hospitals can manage and oversee all aspects of their environment when required to prevent the spread of infection throughout the facility. Using technology to communicate the status of systems and document medical events and medication delivery can be a game-changer. Monitoring systems help hospitals to become both proactive and prepared in protecting patients and staff.
Over the years, Primex's OneVue platform has emerged as the gold standard in modern healthcare data management. Facilities that have weathered epidemics such as COVID-19, SARS-CoV (commonly known as SARS), Ebola, H5N1 ("bird flu") and H1N1 ("swine flu") understand the value of this technology suite.
The OneVue platform can be leveraged as a preventative measure to minimize risk during an infection outbreak. The components of the platform — the Sense Environmental Monitoring, Notify InfoBoards, and Sync timekeeping solutions— can be used to ensure the hospital's environment remains in compliance; can effectively communicate with staff, visitors, and patients; and can accurately document medical events and medication delivery. Linking all the systems, the becomes the single source of healthcare facility data, allowing users to access from any web browser to review proactive alerts, reports and documentation.
Here’s how Primex OneVue works to keep your facility both proactive and prepared in the case of an emergency.
Protect Your Patients, Staff and Environment
OneVue Sense provides a comprehensive environmental technology suite to monitor and manage the environment. It's a powerful solution for monitoring pharmaceutical storage temperatures and managing environmental conditions such as differential air pressure for a surgical suite or an airborne infection isolation room. OneVue Sense’s healthcare data solutions provide everyday environmental management solutions for monitoring temperature, humidity, air pressure, water leaks and contact closure to keep facilities running safely and to support compliance monitoring and performance review.
OneVue sense ensures adherence to the accreditation requirements of the CDC, FDA, TJC and HCAHPS as well as guidelines from the World Health Organization. Hospitals that don't monitor and manage the environment could experience an increased rate in the spread of an infectious diseases to staff and patients due to temperature and humidty fluctuations. Vaccines and temperature-critical pharmaceuticals could be damaged if the storage environment does not follow the manufacturer's specifications, resulting in a loss of medication that could be critical to the treatment of patients and valuable hospital resources. In addition to greatly impacting staff bandwidth and the bottom line, the institution's accreditations could be in jeopardy if guidelines for environmental management are not met.
Communication, Coordination and Documentation
Message protocols, procedural changes and logistics can be incorporated into OneVue Notify, a critical alert, general messaging, and time sync solution. Users can customize public messaging throughout the day as well as issue immediate notifications in response to events such as a weather emergency or a fire. Secure cloud-based control ensures consistent, coordinated messaging across the entire facility. System-issued communications can include:
● Infection control and hygiene reminders
● Identification of isolation and quarantine areas
● Informing patients and staff of designated "quiet" areas of hospitals
● Logistics management: wayfinding functions and entry protocols
OneVue Sync connects sites within buildings as well as entire healthcare campuses with unified timekeeping to foster efficiency and ensure promptness with wired and wireless solutions. The technology improves the accuracy of documenting:
● Coded events
● Medication and treatment delivery
● Staff schedules
Bringing It All Together
Tie all of the OneVue solutions together with OneVue Monitor, which facilitates administration, alerts and reporting. The system provides comprehensive reporting and monitoring data, delivering one single source of information when it comes to healthcare data and simplifying compliance with electronic record keeping regulations.
OneVue Monitor is hosted in a secure cloud so users can access data from any web browser. That also means there's no need for an on-site server, which minimizes the IT resource time.
The lessons learned from infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics help healthcare professionals prepare for any potential threats, whether it's global or local. An integrated system of monitoring and communications will help healthcare facilities prepare for the reality of the rapid spread of infectious disease.
For additional information about how you can implement Primex OneVue solutions, please contact us today!
Leveraging existing solutions, such as OneVue, and aligning on new Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) innovations can drive healthcare system efficiencies
Many people are familiar with the Internet of Things (IoT) and have already adopted it for personal or professional use. To put it simply, any object can be transformed into an IoT device if it can be connected to the internet to be controlled or communicate information.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, IoT has been instrumental in providing data, analytics and storage to help officials and analysts understand the outbreak. It’s been leveraged to gain insights into the virus’s origin, to understand its spread and to fill in data sets to help predict future modeling.
In addition to data, IoT-enabled devices are helping. According to CNet, drones are being used to survey quarantined areas and help identify the sick. Newsweek reported on a study that used heat-mapping and mobile phone data to spotlight the potential downstream of COVID-19 after spring breakers left Florida beaches.
IoT-derived insights are being used to make informed decisions at every level, including healthcare systems, which are serving an influx of infected and potentially infected patients at their facilities. As peaks and COVID-19 hot zones continue to flare up, healthcare systems are thinking about everything from increased amounts of PPE and equipment to staffing needs to creating isolation rooms to protocol changes and more.
The Need for Healthcare IoT Amid COVID-19
Within hospitals’ infrastructure, advances to IoT continue to revolutionize the connectivity, scalability and automation needed to best manage patient care and staff safety, especially when the overall systems are stressed. Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), or sometimes called healthcare IoT, is one form of IoT that was already on the rise even way before the pandemic. According to a 2017 analysis by research firm Frost & Sullivan, the global IoMT market was worth $22.5 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $72.02 billion by 2021.
For healthcare organizations, IoMT encompasses all the medical devices and applications connected to the system’s technology infrastructure. This can include anything from administrative tools to remote patient monitoring to sensor-enabled hospital beds or any other connected equipment. OneVue solutions like the Temperature Monitoring system, which eliminates the need for manual temperature monitoring and data logging, and Room Pressure Monitoring systems—ideal for monitoring hospital negative pressure rooms, airborne infection isolation rooms, operating rooms and other critical environments—are prime examples of IoT devices used specifically in healthcare settings. All of these connected, data-rich systems can provide healthcare systems increased efficiency and automation, more real-time insights, eventual cost savings and improved patient care.
How IoMT Is Providing Solutions for COVID-19
With the coronavirus straining healthcare systems across the country, IoMT has become essential to lighten caseloads and minimize exposure. We are hearing of small and large wins where IoMT is successfully implemented, helping transform disjointed care into a coordinated care model.
One of the main ways this is being done is through telehealth, which encompasses everything from appointments taking place virtually to patient monitoring devices. In March 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance allowing some FDA-cleared patient monitoring devices to be used remotely during the pandemic, with the goal of keeping non-COVID-19 patients out of healthcare facilities and helping monitor people who are being treated for the virus. This included medical devices that track body temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure.
While IoMT is assisting in remote situations, it’s also helping onsite at facilities. During epidemic outbreaks, isolating infected patients and monitoring airflow are crucial to containment. With the help of IoT-enabled products like OneVue Sense Differential Pressure Sensors, healthcare facilities have been able to convert standard rooms into isolated areas to prevent the spread of contaminating particles, ensuring patient safety and compliance.
OneVue solutions like Sense, Sync and Notify all connect to the cloud-based OneVue Monitor platform, which provides you data when you need it, on-demand reports, customized alerts and bank-grade security.
COVID-19’s Lasting Impact on IoMT
Although IoMT was on the rise before the coronavirus outbreak, it’s safe to say that healthcare systems no longer have the luxury of just dipping their toes into IoMT solutions. The global demand to automate, collect data, scale quickly and connect to patients anywhere has shifted into fast-forward mode to fight COVID-19. IoMT will continue to evolve and become more efficient as new solutions emerge and healthcare infrastructure reforms for the future.
Visual message reinforcement technology is essential to help schools communicate important information to students, who are bombarded with thousands of messages a day.
Kids, tweens and teens today are like no generation before them; they’ve only ever known the world in the digital age. Generation Z, which includes people born between 1995 and 2015, makes up the entirety of school-aged people today. Its members are early tech adopters and mobile natives. They seek on-demand content and expect nonstop connectivity to social media wherever they go.
The Pew Research Center states 95% of U.S. teens have access to a smartphone. And according to a nationwide survey by Common Sense, 8- to 12-year-olds average nearly five hours of entertainment screen media a day, and teens log just under seven hours—not including time spent using screens for school or homework. Additionally, among teens those surveyed by Pew, 45% say they are constantly online.
With so much engagement on digital channels, kids are inundated with a range of diverse, and sometimes contradictory or misleading, messages on a daily basis. So, when news develops on their school’s campus—whether it’s related to a change in the regular schedule, or an update during an emergency situation—communications need to stand out from the digital clutter to deliver a unified message.
Visual communication technology, like OneVue Notify InfoBoards, provide an additional layer of messaging to ensure alerts and notifications reach students, educators and staff. Here are four reasons school administrators should consider these solutions for their protocols:
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s 41st Annual Report to Congress, over 67,000 students between the ages of 6 and 21 have some type of hearing impairment. In schools, announcements are traditionally made via overhead public address (PA) systems, but these don’t always effectively reach students during loud passing periods or lunch, and they don’t serve those with hearing impairments. Visual notifications ensure verbal messages made over PA systems or with megaphones and microphones are received in real time, and they ensure all students are included in every communication.
2. Emergency Preparedness
Communicating information quickly in emergencies is critical, which is why message boards like OneVue Notify InfoBoards should be integrated into schools’ protocols. Whether an emergency occurs during a passing period, while class is in session or before or after school hours, visual messages on screens can capture the attention of students, faculty and staff. In addition, visual communications can reinforce messages when school members are focused on their smartphones (either listening to music or watching videos), busy with after-school activities or in a chaotic situation that requires quick action be taken. Additionally, the color-coding features can cue the level of importance a message carries.
3. News and Announcements
A school email or post on the school intranet may go ignored or unopened, but repeated communications on visual OneVue Notify InfoBoards about school events and updates can increase the likelihood of students absorbing important, pertinent messages. Visual messaging can reiterate communications such as:
Weekly school happenings including spirit days, dances and upcoming activities
Sporting events including game or race days and results
Testing reminders such as finals, AP, ACT and SAT
4. Message Reinforcement
The amount of content reaching school-aged people is the highest it has ever been. The average American is bombarded with anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements every day, and across the world, 306.4 billion emails are sent every day. That means if every person in the world received emails, they’d have 44 new ones to sift through every morning. Layer in the other content school-aged people are consuming on TV, their phones and computers, it’s easy to understand how they may accidentally tune out important messages. OneVue Notify InfoBoards can help cut through the clutter and reinforce important messages by going outside traditional PA, computer or smartphone means.
As the number of messages and distractions grow for Generation Z, attention-commanding and effective methods of communication are necessary to break through and reach them with important messages.
Based on experiences in China and Italy, establishing pop-up or field hospitals to treat asymptomatic and or mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients has proved to be an effective strategy to stop the spread of the highly infectious disease across hospitals and among healthcare workers. The United States has followed suit to help mitigate the effects of the outbreak, setting up fast-response facilities designed to allow existing hospitals to treat patients that require more extensive medical attention. Twenty states have set up field medical facilities or other alternative care sites, including New York City and Boston, where three field hospitals opened in April to treat patients who were being treated for COVID-19 but were not in need of critical care.
While these facilities may be temporary, it's still critical that they monitor temperature, room pressure, humidity control and more to reduce risks to patients and healthcare workers. Hospitals must implement their existing infection control policy in these temporary spaces to keep their staff and patients safe — for example, a negative pressure zone must be maintained in these temporary facilities to help stop the spread of disease. This article will discuss a few ways to ensure this happens.
Best Practices for Managing COVID-19 with Temporary Hospitals
Early experiences with pop-up field hospitals, along with CDC recommendations, highlight best practices that facilities must employ to be effective.
A field hospital must follow CDC recommendations to prevent germs from entering the facility. A temporary COVID-19 hospital cannot be used for elective procedures and is required to limit points of entry to reduce exposure.
According to CDC guidelines, the field hospital should use separate, well-ventilated triage areas, private rooms for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 status and private bathrooms wherever possible.
In response to the surge of field hospitals being established across the country, Primex has created specialized product offerings that can be fully operational within 48 hours to manage the environment in pop-up hospitals.
Primex has adapted its suite of OneVue Sense environmental monitors to operate independently and provide audible alerts when temperature, pressure, humidity and other critical levels are out of compliance range. This allows the system to come online quickly and decreases the amount of training time for staff.
For example, to monitor airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) and negative pressure rooms, OneVue Sense Differential Pressure Sensors employ highly sensitive, low-pressure sensors with the ability to detect ultra-low changes in air pressure that could affect safety. The differential pressure sensors require only a minuscule amount of airflow through the unit to detect pressure changes. In addition to our Differential Pressure Sensors, the OneVue Sense Temperature and Humidity Sensors automate indoor air quality monitoring, eliminating the need for busy staff to log data. The OneVue Sense Temperature Monitoring Sensors capture data to document monitoring for regulatory compliance and help protect product inventory in case of equipment issues. These sensors can be used to monitor both the environment at large, as well as medication and blood storage units brought in from larger facilities to store supplies that are critical to the temporary hospital’s ability to affectively treat COVID-19.
Primex’s easy-to-install, easy-to-use sensors can free up valuable medical staff time — allowing them to spend more time with patients, detecting symptoms, isolating those infected and ultimately mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus.
If you're organizing a field hospital for COVID-19, contact Primex today.
A major healthcare system in New York leans on their established, trusted relationship with Primex to quickly convert common spaces into isolation rooms for COVID-19 patients.
The COVID-19 outbreak continues to rock the country and place health systems under significant strain. To take on a higher number of caseloads and effectively distance and monitor infected patients, many hospitals have had to quickly create pressure-monitored isolation areas out of rooms usually used for other purposes.
That’s been the case for a large network of hospitals in New York, which remains an epicenter of the outbreak. The healthcare system needed a solution to monitor the air pressure in spaces that were being transformed to become isolation rooms. The technology had to offer a seamless installation, integrate with existing network infrastructure and be easy for facility and patient care staff to use.
Expediting Sensor Delivery and Working Hand in Hand Every Step of the Way
The New York health system had an established relationship with Primex and our sales partner. Several of its hospitals were using OneVue synchronized clocks, so the organization was familiar with Primex’s advanced solutions and our reliable and knowledgeable customer-first support services. Because we had already worked with the organization’s IT group and had experience with its network, the health system saw Primex as a valued partner that could deliver a OneVue Monitoring solution to them quickly. So, they turned to us for help.
Our team overnighted a sample OneVue Sense Differential Pressure Sensor to the health system. We also worked with the organization’s IT group to quickly ensure the sensor worked with the existing network and that the facilities team could easily install sensors throughout its buildings.
The health system saw success almost immediately and ordered 100 sensors for four of its New York City hospitals. Again, Primex overnighted a shipment. In fact, to ensure these hospitals received their critical equipment as soon as possible, a member of our facilities administration team tracked down the FedEx driver to personally deliver the sensors to the driver and ensure they made it into the overnight shipping que that day.
Over the next few days, as hospitals in the health system expanded their number of isolation rooms floor by floor, several placed additional orders for sensors, as they needed to quickly and seamlessly convert their spaces. In total, 318 sensors have been ordered, and Primex is expediting delivery to the hospitals.
Immediate Benefits and a Long-Term Investment
As sensors are being installed, stakeholders across the health system are seeing instant benefits. Immediate feedback has been that facility management teams are praising the sensors’ ease of installation, while nurses and other users appreciate the intuitive reporting and alerting functions the OneVue platform provides.
In addition, Primex is already working with the health system to ensure its investment of the sensors isn’t short-lived. We’re all hopeful that the COVID-19 outbreak subsides soon. When it does, and hospitals require fewer pressure-monitored isolation rooms, the sensors will be easy to uninstall and reinstall elsewhere, such as operating rooms, intensive care units and other critical care environments. Just as easily and swiftly as they’re being put to use in a time of crisis, they will be able to be repurposed for other pressure monitoring needs.
For facility operations and administrative decision-makers at Pewaukee School District located in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, ensuring the safety of the district’s 3,000 students on their 540,000-square-foot campus is a top priority.
Learn how OneVue Notify InfoBoards helped Pewaukee School District prioritize safety for students, staff and visitors.
With an increasingly global economy and travel infrastructure making it easier than ever for people to travel near and far comes a growing risk for the spread of disease across regions, countries and even continents. In the past two decades, viruses such as SARS-CoV (commonly known as SARS), Ebola, H5N1 (“bird flu”), H1N1 (“swine flu”) and the coronavirus known as COVID-19 have demonstrated just how quickly epidemics can become pandemics if they aren’t contained.
Scientists have learned valuable insights from each of these multiple-country-spreading outbreaks, providing healthcare systems with guidelines and discussion-starters for addressing future epidemics turned pandemic events. With the right planning and systems in place, hospitals can detect viral infections early, isolate cases and prevent the spread of infection. Here are five ways to protect your patients, staff and entire hospital system in the midst of an epidemic or pandemic:
1. All Eyes on the ED
For many, symptoms like coughing, fever and sore throat mean a trip to the emergency department, making it a prime entry point for viral infections. Hospitals need to place a major focus on the ED when developing and revisiting infection control protocols. When you know viral infections will be at an all-time high, such as the peak of flu season, patients across the hospital could be at risk—and taking immediate action at one of the hospital’s biggest points of entry could be the difference between catching and isolating an infection and it spreading to patients, staff and visitors. Consider implementing special processes that separate patients based on the reason they came to the ED and their self-described symptoms to mitigate the risk of spreading germs among patients as they wait to be seen by a doctor.
Additionally, during an outbreak there is an increase in converting standard patient rooms to isolation rooms and the need to monitor air flow quickly becomes crucial to containment. The OneVue Sense Differential Air Pressure Monitor allows those in the field to be alerted to preset pressure threshold alarms when control of airborne contaminants are of the utmost concern.
Unless immediately isolated, infected patients could have a large amount of human contact with staff, other patients and visitors, increasing the touchpoints for the virus to spread. Empowering ED reception staff, nurses and others to immediately recognize the potential symptoms of a virus, then separating those potentially infected patients, is key to mitigating the spread of disease. Consider incorporating OneVue Notify InfoBoards to communicate instructions for preparedness and potential symptoms to be on the lookout for in patients coming into the ED.
3. Timely and Proactive Notifications Can Help Detect and Isolate Infected Patients
Along with training staff to distance potentially infected patients, hospitals can use digital message boards, such as OneVue Notify InfoBoards, to direct incoming patients to certain areas based on their symptoms or recent travel, like Vanderbilt University Medical Center did in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Fully integrated message boards can also be leveraged for critical alerts to staff using coded messages versus unintentionally alerting patients to a potential outbreak over a loudspeaker.
Another consideration is guaranteeing everyone is operating off the same time by using OneVue Sync. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published results from a patient drill which revealed that the median time from entry to masking is 90 seconds and the median time from entry to isolation is 8.5 minutes. Once symptoms are identified, time is of the essence to isolate an infected patient and prevent the spread of the infection. Synching time can help staff cut back on the time an infected patient is at risk for infecting others.
4. Critical Sanitation Procedures
Formalize standards for staff handwashing, protective gear (i.e., masks and disposable gowns) and equipment sanitization at every patient touchpoint. Additionally, ensure medical staff are up to date on the most recent procedures and can quickly and easily implement protocols when they suspect or confirm a patient has contracted a highly contagious infection.
5. Elevate Temperature and Humidity Control
Lower humidity can increase the spread of viruses. In addition, the storage and handling of vaccinations are paramount and under strict regulation by the CDC, making real-time environmental monitoring critical. OneVue Sense Temperature and Temperature and Humidity Sensors help keep rooms and storage units at safe levels—and can be customized to alert staff immediately if they deviate from the acceptable range. In addition, using these sensors can free up valuable medical staff time and allow them to spend more time with patients, detecting symptoms, isolating those infected and ultimately mitigating the spread of the epidemic.
We live in a global world, and the rapid spread of infectious disease is a reality that healthcare professionals across the country face. Hospitals are under heightened scrutiny as patients move in and out of EDs with numerous touchpoints to other patients, but with regular outbreak practice scenarios and the appropriate, integrated technology, hospitals can put their best foot forward in breaking the infection cycle.
This post was originally published on March 13, 2020. It has been updated with more information and details surrounding the Primex Family of Companies’ procedures around COVID-19.
Each day we are learning new information about COVID-19 and how it's impacting the communities where we live and work.
Beginning March 16, 2020, Primex Family of Companies (PFOC) has instituted "social distancing" for our employees. Every employee that can work remotely is doing so. For those employees that are unable to work remotely, we created a small crew on-site and encourage distance from one another to prevent the spread of germs, flu or COVID-19. We've provided prevention education to all associates, and advise them to stay home if they are not feeling well, or if circumstances might encourage them to do so, and to seek medical attention if they have symptoms.
We have created a COVID-19 Task Force to make sure that we are considering all internal and external factors as we decide how to handle the next few weeks as it impacts our employees, customers, visitors, and family members. Here is our current list of initiatives:
We have been sanitizing all surfaces throughout our premises every evening and will continue that practice.
We have put a hold on all international travel; and domestic business travel is restricted.
Employees are not permitted to attend trade shows or large group events.
Face-to-face meetings are replaced with video conferences.
Visitors are restricted at all PFOC buildings in Lake Geneva.
Like many manufacturers, PFOC receives components from a variety of local, national, and international sources. Because the COVID-19 virus has various surface life spans from one to seven days, we have instituted a quarantine policy for all shipments to assure our partners and customers our shipment containers and products are virus-free. Most products that are shipped in containers via sea take at least 30 days to arrive, which is well beyond the maximum seven-day life span on any surface. In instances where products are shipped inside the United States or via air, they are placed in a mandatory quarantine area at PFOC for ten days.
Finally, we have established an interdisciplinary sales and operations response team to identify, assess and manage the risk to the supply of materials and parts necessary to maintain production and quality for our valued customers and has been in place since early February. We are proactively working across the value chain with our supply chain partners to determine inventory levels, what potential components/parts may be or become in short supply, and what actions the suppliers are taking to prepare for potential disruption. We are well-positioned in the supply chain and are taking all prudent steps to mitigate risks and negative impacts from the coronavirus upon our customers.
We are assessing the situation daily, and we will continue to follow the guidelines set by the CDC and local health departments.
While spring break may mean a tropical vacation or some time to relax and unwind at home for teachers and students, the week can be an extremely productive time for facility managers and administrators at schools.
Maintaining safe and healthy environments on campuses is a year-round job, but routine maintenance and certain upgrades can prove difficult to complete when students and staff are on campus. Spring break offers hardworking facility maintenance professionals the building vacancy they need to dedicate and tackle important tasks.
As we begin to spring forward into the new season, here are a few maintenance upgrades schools can tackle during the break:
Review Your School’s Emergency Preparedness and Communication Plan: A break from daily school schedules with large numbers of people onsite presents an opportunity for a mid-year review of current safety protocols and to conduct a risk assessment. The Department of Homeland Security recommends a risk assessment be conducted to identify potential hazards and analyze what could happen if a hazard occurs, and the department suggests that facility managers should take time to look for vulnerabilities or weaknesses that may make an asset more susceptible to damage from a hazard, such as a fire, hurricane or intruder. With this in mind, these hazards can be mitigated by amplifying or investing in an emergency preparedness and communication strategy that can address potentially significant impacts, including casualties, property damage or environmental contamination.
Add Visual Notifications into the School Emergency Response Plan: From everyday messaging and schedule updates to critical notifications and emergency drills, strong communication and consistent messages with students and staff are essential to keep everyone informed and safe. Facility administrators may consider adding visual notifications to their already existing bell and PA systems to help disseminate critical notifications in a timely manner. While building occupants are on break, facility mangers can install a visual notification system, such as OneVue Notify InfoBoards, to help administers bring a visual element to their cross-campus communication strategy.
Inspect Facilities for Environmental Risks and Take Preventative Measures: The International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health indicates that relative humidity for facilities should be maintained between 40% and 60% to sustain the health of building occupants. Low humidity levels can encourage the spread of certain illnesses, especially in crowded classrooms, whereas facilities with too high of humidity levels can leave extra water in the air and lead to growth of bacteria, mold and dust mites. Given the drastic range of issues improper humidity levels can cause, spring break is an ideal time for facilities managers to install integrated technology, such as OneVue Sense Temperature and Humidity Sensors, to assess humidity levels in their schools and detect abnormal environmental factors before they become problems.
Deep Clean School Facilities: With flu season tapering off in early spring, the school break presents a prime opportunity for a thorough cleaning of all classrooms, restrooms, cafeterias and other common spaces. While these areas may be cleaned daily and wiped down weekly during the school year, a mid-year deep clean with fewer people on campus ensures areas are disinfected, deodorized and well-maintained, providing students and staff a sanitary, healthy environment upon their return.
As school administrators, teachers and students begin the home stretch of the school year, spring break offers a much-needed pause in facility managers’ daily routine to check off important maintenance to-dos. Even if all items can’t be addressed over the spring break, a facility maintenance checklist can serve as a foundational starting point to assess larger projects that can be completed over the longer summer break.
For additional information about how you can improve the health and safety of your school’s facilities, visit www.primexinc.com/education.
We launched Alert Resolutions in our latest OneVue update and have taken your feedback seriously. I’ve structured this blog post based on some problems users were having and how we’re trying to solve them.
Problem 0: I’m not sure I’m using the new features and functions correctly.
Solution 0: We know it’s hard to find time to study the new stuff. We’re putting together a webinar for Tuesday, February 4 at 10AM Central where you can attend live or review a recording as we talk through the January update and ask any questions you might have.
Problem 1: Do I use alert resolutions? Or state history comments?
Solution 1: I recommend using the alert resolution workflow – if offers a structure to ensure alerts are properly handled. In the rare event we do hear about a loss, it tends to be a misunderstanding or miscommunication on who was doing what to resolve an issue. So even if documentation isn’t required by an auditing body, I’d say best practice for most facilities would be some form of logging what actually happened.
To reinforce the alert resolution path, the To Do List will take you to the alert resolution screen for all sensor alerts. If you do not have an alert resolution template assigned to the alert rule, you can simply acknowledge from this screen.
Not sure how to add alert resolutions? We’ll cover it in the webinar but it’s under Alert Rule – advanced options at the bottom of the right column. Adding our “corrective actions” default is a great place to start!
Problem 2: The naming convention was confusing.
Solution 2: We changed it. What was Alert Resolutions has been changed to Alert Resolution Templates to clearly define that the list(s) you want to be displayed after an alert are captured here. So if you want to adjust Corrective Actions to include a new item, or edit one of our existing options, go to Alert Resolution Templates.
Alerts has been renamed to Alert Resolutions and that’s where you’ll find the list of alerts that have occurred and be able to track if they’ve been properly resolved. This should be your primary workspace for daily resolutions.
Problem 3: Which type of alert is it?
Solution 3: On the Alert Resolutions page, you’ll notice a column has been added for Alert Type. Now you can easily see if you had a probe error vs. temperature vs. humidity issue to resolve.
Problem 4: Alert resolutions make it even harder to manage State History and Alert History separately.
Solution 4: We’ve made a combined view called Event History! It merges what the sensors are saying (e.g. out of range, probe error) and what your users are saying (e.g. acknowledging or resolving an alert) so that the timing is clear and all of your notes are easy to review or explain to an auditor.
Take a look at the example below – you can see that the sensor information is on the left and the associated user comments are located with the alert that triggered their entry on the right.
Problem 5: The asset summary report is useful – but not exactly what I want…
Solution 5: We added flexibility!
Now if you select a custom day boundary under Interval in the report profile, the AM and PM times and readings on the asset summary report will adjust to that timing. (So if I select my day boundary from 8AM – 8AM, my AM time should be close to 8AM and my PM time should be close to 8PM.)
You’ll notice the Fields to Include list is much longer now. You can remove any column from the Daily Readings Summary – we found number of readings (No. Readings) was sometimes confusing to reviewers. Others didn’t need the Average temperature column. So we’ll default to leaving everything in but you can always uncheck those fields that are distracting or confusing to you.
You’ve always been able to remove Warning states from the Exception report and that functionality is now included for the Asset Summary report. Both Warning and Alarm are the default but you can remove either of them if you’d rather focus on a single state.
As you can hopefully see, it matters to us if you’re struggling with OneVue – it’s a powerful and flexible tool and we want to ensure we’re getting your feedback and constantly getting better. Please let me know if you have additional comments or input!
P.S. Problem 6: That was a lot of information – can you summarize?
The January release includes a number of items that improve workflow and flexibility for Alert Resolutions and the Asset Summary Report.
Naming changes to improve clarity
Adding a sensor column on Alert Resolutions page
To Do list links to Alert Resolution page for that Monitored Asset
Updated corrective action default template to include Additional comments
Merge state history and alert history
Added date selection field to Alert Resolutions page – note that making the date range smaller will improve performance
Updated alert resolution template UI
Asset Summary Report
Updated Fields to Include on Report Profile
Updated States to Include on Report Profile
Merged State History and User Comments
Match AM/PM readings to custom day boundary
Added next/previous buttons to the top of the UI
Removed Monitoring Points from Dashboard view – we’re adjusting how we calculate the points connected for a given month. This feature will return in a future release.
Our team recently attended the 2019 Campus Security & Life Safety Summit to learn about new solutions and technologies that aim to improve security and emergency response plans at school campuses. During the summit, we heard firsthand accounts from university and school district police chiefs who work to protect campuses across the country, as well as insights on crisis communication, active shooter situations and threat prevention from industry experts.
Below are our top three takeaways from the event to help facility managers ensure their campuses are prepared for a number of emergency situations:
1. Prepare a Multilayer Response Plan
A layered emergency response and notification plan is key to keeping your students and staff safe. By using multiple systems, such as text messages, emails, visual alerts and audible announcements, you can ensure students and staff see or hear critical updates in a timely manner, no matter where they are or what they’re doing on campus.
Campus Safety Magazine’s “2019 Emergency Notification Special Report” found that overall demand for emergency notification solutions has increased to 57% from 51% in 2017. Nearly one-third of protection professionals at K-12 and higher education schools surveyed said they plan to deploy new or upgraded emergency notification systems for the 2019-2020 school year.
Implementing multiple systems helps schools avoid single points of failure because the strengths of one system can compensate for the weaknesses of others. Systems such as Primex OneVue offer various integrations points with facilities’ existing PA and text systems to help facility managers develop robust emergency response plans that keep students and staff members informed with critical notifications, ensuring their safety. In addition, Primex OneVue offers post-event reporting to validate a critical notification was prompted, calling out the type of notification, time notification was triggered and time the “All Clear” was disseminated.
2. Empower Staff to Make Emergency Notifications
According to the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, the average response time for emergency responders in critical situations on campuses, such as an active shooter at large, is approximately 10 minutes. However, the most critical events are typically finished in under 5 minutes.
That’s why whenever staff members spot suspicious activity or behavior, they should feel empowered to initiate a critical notification alert or make the call to emergency responders. Officer Rick Gramger and Lt. Dave Klug, the first responders to the mass casualty shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018, indicated that the incident recorded nearly four minutes before a code red was called in. Yet, gunfire had gone off a few times before that call.
This underscores the urgency to disseminate emergency notifications as quickly as possible, starting with properly training teachers and staff to use the notification system that’s outlined in the school’s emergency response plan. This can save critical minutes and increase survivability.
3. Educate Students to Report Suspicious Behavior
Students can be the first to properly identify emergency situations and prevent severe incidents, such as an active shooter on campus. It’s prudent that students are taught “see something, say something” to inform a teacher or other staff member immediately if they witness suspicious behavior.
With the knowledge that they can prevent an emergency situation, one student’s tip about what they overheard or saw can be the difference between keeping all students, teachers and staff safe and preventing tragic outcomes.
Unfortunately, recent events underscore the need for campuses to plan and prepare for emergencies. With a strong plan and the most up-to-date technologies, facility managers can ensure campuses are equipped to respond and staff and students are empowered to act when needed.
From heavy rainstorms and plumbing leaks to hidden condensation and excess humidity, water can be a serious pain point for campus facility managers. Water damage doesn’t just come with costly repairs; it also can take away time spent in the classroom and cause harm to students and staff if it goes unnoticed.
Water-related issues can be challenging and costly to address once the damage is done. With a few proactive measures, education facilities managers can learn about signs of a water leak early on and ways to prevent damage to campus facilities.
When Your Building Structure Fails
At one elementary school in Portland, Oregon, heavy, rain-soaked ceiling tiles and carpet spurred fungus to grow in some rooms, according to local NBC affiliate KGW8. Students and teachers were relocated to another building for more than a month while contractors completed a $1.4 million project to replace the roof at the school. Had the Portland school not temporarily moved the students and staff, they could have been exposed to the negative side effects of unwanted or excessive moisture in the building.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to building dampness and mold has been linked to respiratory symptoms, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, rhinosinusitis, bronchitis and respiratory infections.
In November 2019, a California school district turned to local investigative reporters to find out why their students and staff were so sick. It turns out toxic mold was lurking behind the walls, in the ceilings and the carpet – the culprit? High moisture levels. The investigation found in California, there are no laws requiring schools to conduct routine mold-testing, and it referenced California’s most recent state report on the topic from 2004, which found that the majority of California schools reported signs of moisture or mold in their classroom. The reporter linked the mold spores to allergies and asthma, noting the number one cause of chronic school absence as asthma, with as many as 3 million collective missed school days a year.
Condensation from High Humidity Levels
School buildings with high humidity levels have extra water in the air that can facilitate the growth of mold, fungus and dust mites, which can be harmful to the health of students and teachers. In addition, high humidity levels can damage building materials if condensation forms inside the ceilings, walls and windows.
To prevent water damage and the growth of mold and fungus, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends using air conditioners and dehumidifiers to control humidity levels and dampness. In addition, adequate ventilation can help maintain indoor humidity levels between 30 and 60%. In addition, whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning in foodservice areas, it’s paramount to use an exhaust fan.
Know the Signs of Moisture, Leaks and Mold
The EPA recommends proactively inspecting buildings for signs of mold, moisture, leaks and spills. An inspection checklist may include:
Checking for moldy odors
Identifying water stains or discoloration on the ceiling, walls, floors and windowsills
Looking in bathrooms, including around and under sinks, for standing water, water stains or mold
Precluding water to stand in air conditioning units or refrigerator drip pans
Monitor with Smart Sensors
While some water leaks are obvious with water pouring down walls, leaks caused by high humidity levels can lead to moisture issues going unnoticed for an extended period of time. Facility managers can continuously monitor for the presence of water across their school campus with new devices like, OneVue Sense Temperature and Humidity Sensor, which issue audible and visual alarms when out-of-range conditions are detected and immediately alerts the appropriate person via email, text or phone call. Another sensor option is the OneVue Sense Water Leak Detector, which provides real-time alerts of any signs of unwanted moisture. The networked detectors can send alarms through text, email or phone, as well as sound a local alert for anyone in or near the room. Backed by OneVue Monitor software, the water leak detectors also provide comprehensive monitoring reports that can be quickly and easily generated from any desktop or mobile device.
With the OneVue system in place, education facility mangers can be made aware of moisture, which can be particularly critical for difficult-to-monitor places, before the issue compounds into a significant problem.
With the health and safety of all students, teachers and staff top of mind for facility managers, schools should implement preventative measures to detect and flag any potential water leaks or dampness.
For more information about how you can help strengthen your school’s moisture and water leak detection, visit www.primexinc.com/education.
From natural disasters and adverse weather to criminal activity in the area, schools are challenged to develop emergency response protocols for a range of situations. And sadly, recent events involving shootings on school campuses across the country underscore the importance of developing unique, sophisticated critical communication strategies to various scenarios.
In 2018, Education Week recorded that there were 24 school shootings with injuries or deaths in the United States with 114 people killed or injured during a school shooting. The Journal of Emergency Medical Services indicates that the average response time for emergency responders in these situations is approximately 10 minutes, but the most critical events are over in less than five minutes.
With time being paramount in emergency situations, schools’ crisis response plans need to have the most up-to-date protocols and technologies in place to ensure information and notifications are immediately circulated. With adequate research, planning and preparation, education facility managers can prevent illness and injury, minimize property damage and increase survivability when a crisis situation arises.
Clarity and Consistency Prevent Miscommunications
Schools have different evacuation and lockdown plans to address various emergency situations, and they should take a similarly custom approach to how they communicate those plans in times of emergency. Recent research from John Leach, a military survival instructor who researches behavior in extreme environments at the University of Portsmouth, shows that nearly 75% of people in life-threatening circumstances are so bewildered by the situation that they are unable to make decisions that could save their lives.
That’s why there is a vital need for clear, consistent and synchronized messaging to indicate whether students and staff need to evacuate, assemble or remain where they are on lockdown when they might be mentally paralyzed by the ordeal.
Visual Notifications Approach Enhances Safety
To cascade critical updates, visual cues ensure that not only those with visual or hearing impairments are informed of emergencies and receive directions quickly, but also that messages go through in noisy and busy environments where audible alerts may be hard to understand, such as hallways, cafeterias and gymnasiums.
Advanced notification technology, such as OneVue Notify InfoBoards, brings visual notifications to schools’ emergency response plans. Notify InfoBoards are bright, networked, low-power displays that can show high-resolution custom messages, critical alerts and synchronized time. Using cloud-based software, it allows schools to tailor the wording, scroll speed and colors of alerts to more successfully share urgent updates. In addition, Notify InfoBoards have auditing capabilities, so that after an event is activated, it can send proactive alerts to indicate low, lost signal to InfoBoard and provide post-incident reports to validate what type and when a critical notification was triggered.
In addition, education facility managers can customize visual alerts to ensure students, teachers and staff are receiving the right information at the right time. With the proven technology of OneVue’s 72MHz transmitter, visual messaging through Notify InfoBoards helps schools disseminate messages customized to different locations throughout a building or campus in seconds rather than minutes, reaching more people, more quickly.
Whether a critical fire, weather emergency or intruder, varying elements of the OneVue Notify InfoBoards can help distinguish the severity of events and help students and staff understand quickly what they need to do, providing more direct communication and bolstering safety overall.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities house some of our most vulnerable populations: the sick, the injured and the immune-compromised. To prevent the spread of disease, healthcare organizations are held to strict standards for temperature and humidity control. While environmental monitoring is a priority year-round, the approach of flu season, during which lower humidity levels outside place patients at a greater risk for contracting the virus, underscores the need for integrated technology that helps facilities fight the spread of bacteria and infection, as well as maintain compliance with standards set by the Association of Surgical Technologists.
The flu season is notorious for creating an influx of sick people visiting the emergency department. As we saw from the 2017-2018 season, hospitals must take extraordinary measures to treat and protect sick patients when the flu hits particularly hard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently reporting low levels of flu activity across the country and has not yet released expected numbers for the season.
Humidity Has a Big Role in Hospital Regulation and Safety
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) require the relative humidity of hospital operating rooms be at 20% in accordance with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 170. Additionally, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are expected to ensure that the humidity levels in operating rooms are compatible with manufacturers’ recommendations for any supplies and equipment used in that setting. These standards are in place to maintain a safe operating room environment.
Outside of operating rooms and labs, hospitals aren’t held to a standard for indoor-relative humidity levels. However, a recent study found lower indoor-relative humidity levels increase the risk for the spread of germs. When a room’s relative humidity levels drop below 40%, the space can become a breeding ground for viral infections, such as influenza, and bacteria. When a person gets a respiratory or viral infection, they produce aerosols that contain harmful and highly infectious microbes. At low humidity levels, it’s easy for these microbes to become and remain airborne for long periods of time. Additionally, less humid conditions dry out people’s nasal passages, which are their first form of defense against airborne viruses and pathogens, as well as allergens.
Managing Humidity Requirements Across Complex Hospital Systems
Maintaining varying levels of humidity within hospitals across multiple buildings with different room requirements can be a major challenge for healthcare operations managers and clinical directors, particularly with the approach of flu season. However, they can lower the risk of bacteria growth and the spread of viral infections like the flu with streamlined temperature and humidity monitoring using OneVue Sense Temperature and Humidity Sensors.
The intelligent sensors feature enhanced Wi-Fi communication and authentication protocols that meet today’s stringent IT security policies and eliminate the need for manual monitoring and data logging. Key features that make implementation and use easy, include:
No New Infrastructure Required: Primex sensors arrive ready to immediately access the existing IT network infrastructure to communicate with the OneVue cloud application. Simply power up and install.
Automated Phone, Email and Text Notifications: When sensors detect conditions are out of tolerance, the system automatically calls, emails or texts the key individual designated for the specific monitored asset at that time of day.
Customize Thresholds and Alerts: Unique threshold and alerting parameters can be set for each individual device or for groups of devices at one time.
Secure, Wireless Communication: All Primex OneVue sensors use advanced authentication and encryption protocols (including EAP-Fast, EAP-TLS, WEP, WPA and others), to ensure all communications are secure.
Quickly Generate Reports: OneVue automatically captures, stores and backs up monitoring data, eliminating lost and incomplete information logs. Data can be exported for compliance reports or regulatory audits with just a few clicks.
Easily Maintain Compliance: Monitoring capabilities and exported documentation meet or exceed the requirements of the TJC, CDC, VFC, FDA and State Boards of Pharmacy.
OneVue Sense Temperature and Humidity Sensors provide the assurance hospitals need when it comes to maintaining ideal temperature and humidity level ranges to protect patients and staff from exposure to airborne viral and bacterial infections.
To learn more about how you can protect your hospital from the flu this season with real-time temperature and humidity monitoring, visit primexinc.com/monitoring.
The Primex Family of Companies’ offices will officially be closed Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019, through Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. During this time, we encourage all of our employees to unplug and log off entirely.
Closing our offices and giving our employees those days to focus on their personal lives and needs embodies our core values, specifically around work-life balance. Our employees are our No. 1 asset, and we believe we should work to live, not live to work.
We realize this mentality doesn’t align with the workplace culture of many other businesses, where employees are given time off but aren’t encouraged to use it. In fact, we are very much the exception. Last year’s “State of the American Vacation,” an annual survey of U.S. workers conducted by Project: Time Off, found two-thirds of employees said they don’t get much communication about using their vacation time from their companies. In an interview with the Society for Human Resource Management, Senior Director and Lead Researcher for Project: Time Off said, “That silence creates a vacuum, and we fill that vacuum with our anxieties and assumptions about what our bosses and colleagues could think about our vacation time.”
At Primex, we believe an initiative like closing over the holidays communicates loud and clear just how much we value our employees taking personal time. And these initiatives render major benefits for our company and all of the individuals who make up Primex.
In a piece for Psychology Today, Dr. Emma Seppala, the science director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, wrote, “Ironically, while Americans may pride themselves on their hard work and dedication, research suggests that we will actually work harder, perform better, and have greater health, stamina, and enthusiasm for our work if we take time off.”
We could cite many other researchers and studies. The science is there. But, of course, the decision to close our offices isn’t just about productivity: We know our employees work hard year-round. We also know they’re more than their function and responsibilities. We hope this extended, company-wide closure over the holidays gives them time to be with their loved ones, do activities they enjoy, relax, and ultimately start 2020 off on a great note.
Happy holidays from the Primex Family of Companies!
To read more about the Primex Family of Companies’ values, visit our website: thepfoc.com.
According to the National Institute of Building Sciences’ research and recommendations, roughly $145 billion should be dedicated to maintaining, operating and renewing educational facilities every year in order to provide safe, healthy and forward-thinking learning environments for students and school staff. However, as schools strive for academic success, they often face budget restrictions, challenging administrators to find ways to operate more efficiently, resourcefully and proactively.
In particular, one common challenge is cost-effectively managing existing systems to avoid cutting staff and programs. This can be a daunting task for schools, but electrical engineers and other contractors can help administrators stay abreast of technology trends in facility management that support more effective budget use without negatively impacting student or teacher experiences. Heading into contract bidding season, engineers should have a pulse on industry trends to serve as guiding experts for schools.
Here are the top five trends you should know about as you help schools make their facility management decisions for 2020:
(1) Data Driven Decision-Making
Seventy-five percent of organizations using facility management services consider data the key to achieving strategic real estate goals, according to a recent study by real estate investment firm CBRE Group. The firm states that by 2025, data analytics will be critical for addressing costs and performance. The National Center for Education Statistics also recognizes this need, stating that for school facilities specifically, data is important to a variety of stakeholders, from members of the schools’ communities to governments at local, state and federal levels, because it informs critical decisions related to facility planning, acquisition, construction, alteration, maintenance and operations.
By collecting accurate, timely and appropriate facility information, facility managers, along with school operations and administration, can set better benchmarks and leverage year-over-year data to collect actionable insights and identify valuable, cost-effective facility solutions for their schools.
(2) Sustainable Updates and Design
As schools look to incorporate sustainability in their facilities, administrators have to weigh their options in terms of time, value and return on investment. With 20 percent of the U.S. population spending their days inside elementary and secondary schools, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it’s critical school facility managers consider the most effective building upgrades and designs to create healthy and safe environments for all students and employees. The more sustainable a school, the more students and staff can enjoy safe and productive learning conditions with optimal working facilities. In addition, the EPA found that sustainable practices in schools are linked to cost-effectiveness, lower absenteeism rates and more available funds.
One of the recent innovations in sustainable schools involves controlling indoor air quality. Indoor air pollution can be a significant issue because of the health threat that air pollutants such as mold and dust mites present. Schools are encouraged to take preventative measures to address indoor air quality by routinely inspecting their HVAC systems, identifying adequate ventilation systems, properly disposing of waste and quickly cleaning spills that could draw pests.
The OneVue Environmental Monitoring Platform directly addresses these issues, and it can streamline the control of temperature and air condition at both individual schools and larger campuses. OneVue Environmental Monitoring can ensure optimal air quality, temperature control and humidity monitoring in every room, from auditoriums and gymnasiums to labs and classrooms.
(3) Integrated Building Networks
More than 20 billion connected things will be in use by 2020—up from 8.3 billion in 2017, according to Gartner. Education facility managers should look to identify solutions that integrate building features, such as clocks, bell schedules and public announcement (PA) and text systems.
To connect facility managers or administrators with students, teachers and staff members, Primex offers integrated education solutions, such as the OneVue System, to provide a holistic solution to clocks, visual communications and school bell schedules. This cohesive approach helps get students to class on time, maximize teaching hours and eliminate timely and costly maintenance to keep every clock at the right time, allowing facility teams time to focus on more valuable projects.
In addition, building networks that allow for visual communications that integrate with text systems are the future of keeping children and staff safe during emergency situations. Implementing an updated, technology-focused program allows schools to quickly and effectively notify students and staff of an incident and give them specific instructions to stay safe.
(4) User-Focused Innovations
Along with cost-effectiveness, operational efficiency and safety, education administrators also have to keep the “users”—faculty and other staff—top of mind when researching and selecting new facility management solutions. Often, a major priority is ensuring these users can focus on delivering supportive and inspiring environments and avoid wasting time troubleshooting technology.
For instance, a bell controller, such as the PrimexEVENT Bell Controller, can integrate with existing PA systems to manage bell schedules and ensure class time accuracy across all rooms in a building, or even throughout an entire district or campus. This allows administrators to spend less time maintaining bell schedules and provides students and teachers the opportunity to fully maximize their time in the classroom.
(5) Resilient and Reliable Facilities
Safety is a top priority for education administrators, and it’s critical that facilities are equipped with reliable systems for quick and effective dissemination of information and alerts. The Primex OneVue Notify InfoBoard offers visual communication and critical alerts—perfect for busy, noisy environments. InfoBoards use a cloud-based software to display messages, date and time information or urgent notifications. They’re configured to operate during power blackouts, daylight saving shifts and IP network failures. This type of resilience is crucial for keeping schools safe for all students, teachers and staff in the face of emergency situations.
As engineers head into the 2020 contract bidding season, they can partner with education facility managers to identify cost-effective, short- and long-term solutions to create safe, healthy and innovative work environments for school staff and students.
For more information about how Primex OneVue’s integrated systems can help schools operate more safely and cost-effectively through innovative technology, visit www.primexinc.com/education.
The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) publishes general chapters regarding safe production and handling of various compounds in order to protect and improve health. We at Primex sometimes get questions from labs who use OneVue Sense about our compliance with these important standards.
While we encourage our users to whom these chapters apply to read them carefully, there are some general notes I can provide. We covered USP 795 in August and want to continue with USP 797.
797 mentions our major compliance services in OneVue Sense – differential pressure, air temperature and humidity and refrigerator temperature. The ability to run reports on schedule or on demand, to receive alerts, to monitor the use of the system and to respond to alerts with corrective actions or resolutions makes OneVue an excellent fit to stay safe and prove compliance.
For ante-rooms, positive pressure must be maintained in some buffer rooms, with negative pressure in others. Classified rooms should monitor differential pressure and have a line of demarcation to note clean from dirty, such that pressure always flows from clean to dirty so as not to contaminate clean rooms.
OneVue monitors differential pressure. So you can have access to all the alerts and reports that provided in OneVue! We also offer an optional contact closure with the sensor that only alarms when the door separating the spaces is closed and pressure can normalize.
If you’re confused about how differential pressure works, you’re not alone. Let’s take this step by step. If we want to keep contaminants out of our clean room, we want the clean room to have higher pressure than its surroundings. Then when a door opens, air will flow from high to low, meaning out the door. As air flows out, dirt or germs are blown away from the clean room entrance.
If you’ve ever opened a door and felt a rush of air against your face, you were entering a higher pressure space. But in a clean room, before you open the door, you want to ensure your space is properly pressurized. Or be able to provide reports if asked to demonstrate compliance to USP 797.
So instead of opening the door to provide air flow from one space to another, we drill a small hole for a tube that leads through the sensor. Air will flow from high pressure (H on the sensor) to low (L on the sensor input) and the sensor uses a bypass configuration to characterize the flow, which is then converted to differential pressure and calibrated to known differential pressure levels to ensure accuracy.
So just like you may feel the air flow against your face, the sensor feels the air flow across the sensing element. And because the difference in pressure changes when the door is open, you can use a contact closure to only send alerts when the door is closed and pressure is allowed to properly normalize in each space.
I’ve had sites ask if they need two sensors since there are two spaces – one clean and one dirty. The answer is usually no – the differential pressure sensor measures the difference in pressure between the two spaces. So the value in OneVue or on the local display is H-L (where H is high and L is low – both are noted on the input at the bottom of the sensor). If you need a local display on both sides of the door, you could install a sensor on the clean side and one on the dirty side, but they will show the same value within the accuracy tolerance (0.02 Pa + 3% of the reading, which converts to 0.0008 inches of water + 3% of the reading). But the measured quantity is the same regardless of which side you measure from because the flow from high to low pressure is the same physical quantity. (Note that if you do change the tubes and have the one labeled H going to the low pressure space, the differential pressure reading will be negative but still quantitatively correct.)
In terms of how to adjust your differential pressure, that’s generally under the control of your HVAC expert who can adjust settings to provide more or less pressure in various rooms. We understand this gets confusing so please us know if you have questions!
OneVue monitors ambient temperature and humidity via the A100Q service. Clean rooms should be at 20⁰ C or cooler and at relative humidity below 60%, which is well within the range of our system. USP mandates daily documentation but also notes continuous recording devices. By offering continuous monitoring, OneVue automates those records and adds the alerting functionality to let your HVAC expert know when temperature or humidity goes out of regulated range.
Knowing your monitoring system remains accurate is important. USP 797 requires that temperature and humidity monitoring devices be verified for accuracy at least every 12 months or as required by the manufacturer. Primex manufacturer guidelines are to replace the sensor every 3 years in an abundance of caution. Our sensors are remarkably stable over time unless dropped or otherwise physically damaged. In cases of physical damage, we do recommend replacement immediately.
Documentation needs also require temperature logs for refrigerators that are used. Our Temperature Sensors, or T101Q service, can handle that! CertiTrak probes show an accuracy within 1.0⁰ F between -40-221⁰ F (and within 0.5⁰ C between -40-105⁰ C).
We know you’re busy. You have to be compliant with regulations and it’s a priority to be safe for your staff and for the patients who use your services. OneVue provides a full environmental monitoring portfolio to handle your reporting and offers visibility to alerts and dashboards when you need to pay attention to an HVAC or refrigeration problem. Please contact us if you have questions or we can provide additional details.
This blog post was written by Primex's Healthcare Product Manager, Katie McMillian, and Product Management Associate, Connor Hutson.
I keep coming back to a basic principle: monitoring, alerts, and reporting are important, but only when they allow you, our users, do things with that information. This is the perspective that drives our continuous improvement as we deploy OneVue.
Until now, we haven’t had a streamlined system to capture user comments on what actions were taken in response to an alarm. Records would show that there was an out-of-range temperature alert on a refrigerator containing medicine, for example, but not what was done about it.
Our new system of “alert resolutions” changes all of that.
Let’s say you’re responding to an alert regarding a temperature excursions for refrigerator containing vaccines. You might receive the email notification, walk to the refrigerator, and discover the door has been left open by accident.
When you resolve the alarm in OneVue, our revised “Alerts” screen will allow you to enter a “corrective action” (with “closed door” in this example), and OneVue will automatically note the duration of the temperature excursion.
Relevant: the CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit lists the following recommendations for data capture after a temperature excursion: “General description of what happened.”
By capturing “what happened,” the new alert resolutions will help you stay in compliance, and more importantly, prove it with documentation.
Some Administration Required
While OneVue captures the temperature and time data by default, we need administrators’ help to add the alert resolution—which is the general description of what happened, as in the example above.
Some default options include:
Sensor manually checked in and reset min/max
Unit already empty
But if you need to add more detail, you can add text to document, such as where the medications were moved, or what work order was created.
Need more options, or to add additional questions? Admins can visit our alert resolutions page to add, delete, or revise those responses. Admins then need to connect these revised Alert Resolutions to alert rules in order to be mandatory on the Alerts page. (It’s a very flexible design, which means that it can be a bit complicated—take a look at the help files or let me know if you have problems.)
Admins will see three new report types available, all aimed at understanding your account’s users.
User report—detailed view of each user included. Device classes, account, location, and business unit roles, as well as alert rules which include that user.
User Role report—view of many users which lists roles and entities (location or BU) and device classes.
User Alert Rule report—view of multiple users specific to alert rules (includes teams, shifts, and escalations).
Confused? We were too at first, but found there were different problems we were trying to solve and adding too much flexibility was worse than creating three different report types.
You Are the Reason OneVue Exists, Improves
I also wanted to remind you that your feedback matters to me as I prioritize what we do next. If there’s a workflow that bothers you, or a new feature you think would improve your experience, please let me know.
I joined Primex in December, 2017, after spending years in academic research and product development in medical imaging. I’ve been honored to work with the teams here—from development to support to sales—but by far my greatest honor is supporting you, our user, in your mission and role. Keep in touch!
What, exactly, is the role of a full subscription with our new OneVue Notify InfoBoards? To put it succinctly: When these visual notification devices are connected to the OneVue Monitor cloud software through a subscription, our end-users can expect a much more versatile tool.
Scheduled countdown events
This allows InfoBoards to count down to a planned moment, for example, visually indicating to students as the final minutes pass before classes begin for the day.
Scrolling general messages with adjustable speed
Not only does a full subscription allow administrators to enter general text-based messages for their system, but it also lets them specify the speed at which they scroll. For example, “Soccer tryouts: 4 p.m. on West Field” would be much too long for a single InfoBoard, but this feature would make the message easy-to-read for an entire student body.
Customizable critical notifications
While the built-in default notifications will be useful and practical for most scenarios, we can easily imagine situations in which administrators might want to create an area-appropriate critical notification for their system. “Tsunami” in a Hawaiian school, for example, or “Earthquake” for a university in California.
Seven display colors with adjustable brightness
Control the brightness of InfoBoards and assign different colors to various functions: red, green, blue, yellow, white, magenta, and cyan.
Timed transitions between clock & date display, and general messaging
Administrators can specify the timing for displays of clock, date, and the general messages they send through the web-based software, as well as customizing the date and time format.
These are a way to know if a piece of equipment is having problems. The email alerts warn you if there is a time sync failure, or if an InfoBoard has become unresponsive.
We’re very excited about how these new tools will be used in the field. A visual display is a great thing, but pair it up with deep user control through cloud-based software? That seems like something special.
Of the types of feedback OneVue provides, the most commonly used is the Asset Summary Report. If you’re a current OneVue user, I’ll bet you have one on your account, and hopefully you have someone reviewing it regularly. In the vast majority of audit scenarios, the Asset Summary Report will be your first level of evidence.
In order to meet most audit requirements, this report provides a structured format to prove you have easily accessible data for a given asset.
So let’s say an auditor visits me, and wants to see records on my vaccines. They have been stored in Refrigerator 2-F for the month of June 2019. I’m a responsible person, so I have my asset summary report running automatically on the first of each month for the previous calendar month.
I would log in to OneVue, go to Reports > Active, find the report that contains Refrigerator 2-F, and click on “View Reports” in the History column.
It’s only going to show the most recent report, but I don’t panic! I adjust my start date at the top to cover the range of interest, and more rows appear.
I remember that I’ve set the report to generate on the first of July to cover the previous month of June (which the auditor asked for), so I open that PDF, since it shows I’ve not altered the data in any way.
Now I can behold the Asset Summary Report in all its glory! There’s some general information in the upper portion about how my sensor is set up. (What kind of sensor? Temperature! What state is it in? Alarm! What is the normal range? 36.0 F–46.0 F!).
Then I get into the twice-daily readings which OneVue Monitor records as a default. They’re grouped around midnight and noon. Monitor also reports an average, minimum and maximum for each day (as well as a summary line for the reporting period). Monitor records the number of readings taken for that day.
The State History Section describes what has changed within the system—if I had alarms or warnings. On the 2019-06-05 alarm, a user recorded that they found the door open, but that comment was made on 06-10. I also don’t have a comment for the alarm on 06-27.
Lastly, any comments the team made on acknowledging the alerts will be placed in Asset Acknowledgements—typically those notes are “OK” or “going to check” types of responses, since users are unlikely to know the root cause.
Do you have questions about the report? Please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org. Are you forgetting to add comments about the alarms after they’re resolved? Watch for our late-September release—we have something coming that should help!
September is National Preparedness Month in the USA. Most every business is familiar with fire drills, and many educational institutions are now using ALICE Training to prepare for intruders. Our OneVue Notify InfoBoards are a new visual element of a larger emergency response plan, so we’re going to take a high-level overview of preparedness, both to provide materials and resources, and also to consider how InfoBoards fit into the security landscape.
If an institution is considering revising an emergency plan, or creating a new one from scratch, a great tool is the Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans, published by FEMA. This is a straightforward, step-by-step document which lays out the elements necessary to create a functional plan for critical situations.
The central issue is to consider likely scenarios and work them through, long before a critical situation may occur.
Integrating a New Tool into the Plan
InfoBoards are a new type of tool for emergency preparedness, with unique benefits in a critical situation:
Near-instant activation of emergency messages from a simple button board
Integration with other security and notification tools
High visibility for noisy and/or busy areas
Ability to communicate quickly to the hearing-impaired
But like any tool, thought must be given to how it works within your institution’s overall emergency plan. Questions to consider:
Is your system configured for power and network outages? Some emergencies, such as earthquakes, can disable power, wired networks, or both. When installing any sort of alert or security system, consider whether it can be made independent from these points of failure, as well as the possibility of providing emergency generators if the need is great enough. A low-cost solution for many locations is to provide uninterruptible power supply (UPS) backup for all power over Ethernet (PoE) network switches, and other systems.
Who controls the alert system? Given that the OneVue Notify system can be controlled from a simple button board, who has access to that board?
Where is the button board located? In a small building this may be obvious, but consider a larger, multi-structure campus. Do you install boards in a central administrator’s or secretary’s office in each building? Have a protocol for calling/texting/alerting a central controller?
What advance communication should be sent out to students and staff on how to respond? If, for example, a student sees a yellow alert message “WEATHER,” will they understand the likely scenarios this entails, and the actions to take, such as proceeding to the nearest shelter? Briefing your campus may make a real difference when a critical situation occurs.
Is “LOCKDOWN” feasible? If your facility is confronted with a hostile intruder, do you have the necessary elements to initiate a lockdown where areas of the building can be compartmentalized? If not, what other options are available? If you are unable to secure the facility, should “EVACUATE” be the default?
All of these elements need to be used in conjunction with good sense: developing relationships with local law enforcement and emergency responders, and drilling scenarios appropriate to your situation. (You probably don’t need to perform tsunami drills in Oklahoma, for example, or wildfire preparation in Pittsburgh.)
Our goal at Primex is to provide new, useful tools to help you communicate quickly with staff and students in an emergency. Note that we love hearing from you, since your input drives our designs and product improvements. In particular, if there is a tool you find useful for emergency planning and preparedness, we’d like to hear about it!
United States Pharmacopeia (USP) standards play an important role in keeping staff safe, and facilities in compliance. USP publishes general chapters regarding production and handling of various compounds in order to protect and improve health. We sometimes get questions from labs using OneVue Sense about our compliance with these important standards.
While we encourage our users to whom these chapters apply to read them carefully, there are some general notes I can provide!
USP 795: Nonsterile Preparations
OneVue Sense monitors ambient temperature and humidity via the A100Q service. Whether you’re monitoring personnel wearing the “required garb,” storage spaces, or labs for defining expiration dates, our system measures ambient temperature within 1.0⁰ F between 23⁰ F–122⁰ F (and within 0.5⁰ C between 0⁰ C–50⁰ C). Humidity is accurate to 3% in the 20%–80% relative humidity range.
Given that personal comfort and best practices for storage are within those ranges, our alerts are fully functional to let you know if a space goes out of your specified range for temperature or humidity, so you can intervene accordingly. Sites also have one-click access to historical reports of logged readings to demonstrate compliance.
Naturally, you will want to know your monitoring system remains accurate over time. The CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit (v2019, page 10) notes that temperature monitoring devices “can experience ‘drift’ over time, affecting their accuracy” as an explanation as to why “calibration testing should be done every one to two years or according to the manufacturer’s suggested timeline.”
OneVue Sense remains remarkably stable over time. The typical value for the humidity sensing element’s operation in normal RH/T operating range (20%–80%RH) is < 0.25. Maximum values are < 0.5 %RH/yr. Factors driving toward higher drift are environments with vaporized solvents, out-gassing tapes, adhesives, packaging materials, etc.
Assuming our worst-case drift of 0.5% RH/year, it would take 3 years of drift in a consistent direction to be an additional 1.5% out of our stated accuracy performance. Given those conservative estimates, if a sensor element was 3% RH low upon install and continued to drift low at a maximum of 0.5% RH for 3 years, we would still remain accurate to within 4.5% at the end of 3 years. The chances of all those factors happening in one sensor are so low as to negligible. But to avoid any doubt with auditors, sites can subscribe to our NIST program which replaces the sensor unit every 3 years.
Note that if non-preserved aqueous dosage forms are stored in refrigerators, the T101Q service will work. CertiTrak probes show an accuracy within 1.0⁰ F from -40⁰ F to -221⁰ F (and within 0.5⁰ C between -40⁰ C and -105⁰ C).
A Boost to Safety and Compliance
As I have outlined here, our OneVue Sense tools match or exceed the compliance requirements and recommendations spelled out in USP 795. I’ll be writing about how we measure up with other standards soon, so stay tuned!
When skies turn green, and dark vortexes dip from the clouds, a tornado watch won’t be far behind. The next escalation is a tornado warning.
Imagine pushing a single button in your office, and having bright signs light up throughout your campus reading, “WEATHER.” From receiving the warning to sending the alert seconds have elapsed, as opposed to minutes. Is this possible? With OneVue Notify InfoBoards, the answer will soon be “Yes.”
Testing the System
Primex is currently beta testing new components which will integrate into our OneVue Notify system, allowing for faster critical notifications in emergencies. We expect limited availability of the full system in October, with a full production release in November.
The OneVue Sync Transmitter has been completely redesigned from the ground up, both providing backward-compatibility for existing installations, while also bringing new capabilities.
Notify InfoBoards are the user-facing element of our new platform. These are a new generation of display devices.
A New Class of Visual Messaging
InfoBoards come in three different sizes. They feature the same fine pitch technology seen in large panel displays in airports, stadiums, conference rooms, and other public gathering spaces.
InfoBoards can display time, date, and general messages at different intervals, using seven different options for any display. These features are controlled from a mobile app and the OneVue Monitor software.
These panels are more durable than LCD flat-panel monitors, with a longer expected life, making them the natural successor to the digital clock.
In an emergency (such as an active shooter or dangerous weather), the new transmitter can send a signal to every InfoBoard in your campus, independent of your network, triggering the visual display of notifications such as “Lockdown,” “Evacuate,” or “Weather.”
The OneVue Sync Transmitters are equipped with four separate pairs of contact closures for different critical notifications, and one additional for an “All Clear” message. These contact closures can also be easily connected to auxiliary jacks on fire panels, main building panels, and PA systems, allowing those systems to trigger our boards along with whatever other audible and electronic notifications they may already activate.
For the cost of a new transmitter and a set of InfoBoards, institutions can have a fully functional synchronous time and critical notification system, yielding savings in both initial cost and ongoing maintenance.
The FCC licensing of our transmitter frequency limits interference from other sources, and keeps this life-protecting system separate from busy networks.
More to Come
Primex is committed to expanding the capabilities of this new platform. Stay tuned for our next blog, where we’ll cover new features and capabilities in the upcoming software/hardware release.
Or contact Primex directly for more information!
Quand chaque seconde compte : OneVue Notify
Lorsque le ciel devient vert et que les tourbillons sombres plongent dans les nuages, une vigie tornade n'est pas loin derrière. La prochaine étape est une alerte tornade.
Imaginez que vous appuyiez sur un seul bouton dans votre bureau et que des panneaux lumineux s'allument tout au long de votre campus, indiquant « MÉTÉO ». De la réception de l'avertissement à l'envoi de l'alerte, quelques secondes se sont écoulées au lieu de quelques minutes. Est-ce possible ? Avec OneVue Notify, la réponse sera bientôt « Oui ».
Tester le système
Primex teste actuellement en version bêta de nouveaux composants qui s'intégreront dans notre système OneVue Notify, permettant des alertes plus rapides en cas d'urgence. Nous prévoyons une disponibilité limitée du système complet en octobre et une version de production complète en novembre.
Le transmetteur OneVue Sync a été entièrement repensé pour offrir une compatibilité ascendante aux installations existantes, tout en apportant de nouvelles fonctionnalités.
Les tableaux InfoBoards de Notify sont l’élément de notre nouvelle plate-forme qui s’adresse aux utilisateurs. Il s'agit d'une nouvelle génération de périphériques d'affichage.
Une nouvelle classe de messagerie visuelle.
Les InfoBoards existent en trois tailles différentes, comme indiqué ci-dessus. Ils sont dotés de la même technologie de précision que les grands écrans de contrôle des aéroports, des stades, des salles de conférence et autres lieux de rassemblement publics.
Les InfoBoards peuvent afficher l'heure, la date et des messages généraux à différents intervalles, en utilisant sept options différentes pour tout affichage. Ces fonctionnalités sont contrôlées à partir d'une application mobile et du logiciel OneVue Monitor.
Ces panneaux sont plus durables que les écrans plats LCD, avec une durée de vie espérée plus longue, ce qui en fait le successeur naturel de l'horloge numérique.
En cas d’urgence (comme un tireur actif ou des conditions météorologiques dangereuses), le nouvel émetteur peut envoyer un signal à chaque InfoBoard de votre campus, indépendamment de votre réseau, en déclenchant l’affichage visuel de notifications telles que « Verrouillage », « Évacuer » ou « Météo ».
Les émetteurs OneVue Sync sont équipés de quatre paires de fermetures de contact distinctes pour différentes notifications critiques et d'une supplémentaire pour un message « Tout va bien ». Ces fermetures de contact peuvent également être facilement connectées aux prises auxiliaires des centrales incendie, des panneaux principaux du bâtiment et des systèmes de sonorisation, ce qui permet à ces systèmes de déclencher nos tableaux avec toute autre notification sonore et électronique que celles qu’ils peuvent déjà activer.
Pour le coût d'un nouvel émetteur et d'un ensemble de tableaux InfoBoards, les institutions peuvent disposer d'un système de notification de l'heure critique et entièrement fonctionnel parfaitement synchronisé, ce qui permet de réaliser des économies de coûts initiaux et de maintenance continue
L’octroi de licences FCC pour la fréquence de nos émetteurs limite les interférences provenant d’autres sources et maintient ce système de protection des personnes à l'écart des réseaux surchargés.
Encore plus à venir !
Primex s'est engagée à étendre les capacités de cette nouvelle plate-forme. Restez à l'écoute pour notre prochain blog, où nous couvrirons les nouvelles fonctionnalités de la prochaine version logicielle / matérielle.
Ou contactez directement Primex pour avoir plus d'informations !
While visiting a large healthcare facility with over a hundred air handlers, the facility manager told us, “We didn’t know about the leak until water was pouring down the stairs, through the ceiling. It took out an oncology treatment area.”
Water leaks at home can be annoying—an overflowed bathtub, a burst pipe in winter, or a clogged drain. In a major facility, the consequences are far more severe:
A flooded server or phone room taking out communication for an entire organization.
A wet floor in an electrical room creating dangerous conditions for workers, damaging expensive equipment.
Clogged air handlers flooding downstairs patient rooms, closing an entire wing (just as related to us by the facility manager).
An unnoticed leak in a radiology suite damaging MRI, CT, or PET scanners over the weekend.
As a company dedicated to growing and deepening our portfolio of environmental monitors, the case was clear: our customers and partners needed a water leak detector.
The new Water Leak Detectors connect to OneVue Monitor software, which means automated alerts and reports on any device with a web browser. If a probe detects water on a surface, it can send an alert as a voice call, text, or email, as well as sounding a local audible alarm—no more surprise waterfalls in stairways!
An Open and Shut Case
We have also launched a contact closure sensor, which also connects to OneVue Monitor’s robust suite of reporting and alerting features.
While not a security system as such, we can see a variety of use-cases for the contact closure sensor:
If you’d like to be notified when a server room or elevator repair door is open for longer than a minute.
When exterior door is left open for longer than 10 minutes.
If a contact reads as open between a TV and the wall—perhaps someone is walking off with a television?
Ensuring elevators returned to a particular floor when they were not in use.
Confirming that laundry chutes are closed properly.
Or having an employee open and close the switch after they complete rounds to document they visited all proper areas after-hours.
The great thing about the new additions to our sensor family is they act like all the other sensors. Configuring, installing, setting up alert rules, running reports, checking the dashboard? All the same, which means additional functionality with a flat learning curve.
We’re excited about our new environmental sensors, and would love to hear if you have ideas for what we should develop next!
Alors nous visitions un grand établissement de soins de santé comptant plus d'une centaine d’unités de traitement de l'air, le responsable de l'établissement nous a dit : « nous n'avons appris l'existence de la fuite que lorsque l'eau s'est écoulée dans les escaliers, par le plafond. Cela a mis hors service une zone de traitement en oncologie. »
Les fuites d'eau domestiques peuvent être gênantes - une baignoire qui a débordé, un tuyau qui a éclaté en hiver ou un tuyau d’égoût obstrué. Dans une installation de grande taille, les conséquences sont beaucoup plus graves :
Un salle des serveurs ou une salle téléphonique inondée qui met les communications hors service pour l'ensemble d'une organisation.
Un sol mouillé dans une salle électrique créant des conditions dangereuses pour les travailleurs, endommageant des équipements coûteux.
Des unités de traitement de l'air obstrués qui inondent les chambres des patients en dessous, provoquant la fermeture d’une aile entière (comme le responsable de l'établissement vient de nous le rapporter).
Une fuite non détectée dans une salle de radiologie endommageant les appareils d'IRM, de tomodensitométrie ou de TEP au cours du week-end.
En tant qu'entreprise qui cherche à développemer et à élargir son portefeuille de logiciels de surveillance OneVue, le cas était clair : nos clients et partenaires avaient besoin d'un détecteur de fuites d'eau.
Les nouveaux détecteurs de fuites d'eau se connectent au logiciel de surveillance OneVue Monitor, ce qui signifie des alertes et des rapports automatisés sur tout appareil équipé d'un navigateur Web. Si un détecteur détecte de l'eau sur une surface, il peut envoyer une alarme sous la forme d'un appel vocal, d'un message texte ou d'un courriel, ainsi qu'une alarme sonore locale - plus de chutes d'eau surprise dans les escaliers !
Une affaire entendue
Nous avons également lancé un capteur de fermeture de contacts, qui se connecte également à la suite robuste de fonctions de rapports et d'alertes de OneVue Monitor.
Bien qu'il ne s'agisse pas d'un système de sécurité en tant que tel, nous pouvons voir une variété de cas d'utilisation pour le capteur de fermeture de contacts :
Si vous souhaitez être averti lorsqu'une porte de la salle de serveurs ou la porte de réparation d'un ascenseur est ouverte pendant plus d'une minute.
Lorsque la porte extérieure est laissée ouverte pendant plus de 10 minutes.
Si un contact est lu comme ouvert entre un téléviseur et le mur - peut-être que quelqu'un s'en va avec un téléviseur ?
S'assurer que les ascenseurs retournent à un étage particulier lorsqu'ils ne sont pas utilisés.
Confirmer que les goulottes à linge sont bien fermées.
Ou demander à un employé d'actionner l'interrupteur après la fin de sa ronde pour confirmer sa visite dans tous les endroits appropriés en dehors des heures de travail.
Ce qu'il y a de bien avec les nouveaux ajouts à notre famille de capteurs, c'est qu'ils agissent comme tous les autres capteurs. Configurer, installer, paramétrer des règles d'alarmes, exécuter des rapports, vérifier le tableau de bord ? Tout reste pareil, ce qui signifie des fonctionnalités supplémentaires avec une courbe d'apprentissage plate.
Nous sommes enthousiasmés par nos nouveaux capteurs environnementaux et aimerions savoir si vous avez des idées sur ce que nous devrions développer ensuite!
Our 72 MHz transmitter system—originally conceived and released in 2002—remains the most reliable and worry-free method for delivering accurate synchronized time. Not only among our different solutions, but also measured against our competition.
Given this, when we embarked upon a re-design of this platform last year because of some end-of-life component issues, one thing was very clear:
Don’t Mess with Success
Our new OneVue Sync Transmitter is fully compatible with almost all of our older generation 72MHz clocks. We also have similar models, from our 1-Watt internal and external to our larger 5- and 30-Watt transmitters, to cover any size building or campus. And we continue to offer a repeater option to fill in gaps within buildings where signal may have trouble penetrating.
That’s where the similarity ends, however.
Building on a Good Thing
Drawing upon the success of our cloud software platform, the new transmitter is now fully integrated with OneVue, with all the alert capabilities that our OneVue Monitor software currently has. You’ll know immediately if your transmitter has been unplugged, or experiencing any other problems before daylight savings time rolls around again. And the best part of this is that your access to OneVue, (specifically to manage your transmitter) is free for the life of the unit.
You might say, “what’s the catch”? There is none, except that we require you add the transmitter to OneVue to receive support, which helps us to better serve you, and reduces the amount of time we spend on support calls. From OneVue you can set up rules that will send out alerts via email, text, or voice at scheduled intervals with reminders; or you can go a simpler route, and just receive an email should there be an issue.
One of the most significant differences however, is the addition of the ability to trigger critical notifications to our new InfoBoards from the new transmitter. These boards are due out in November. More on this later.
The Times, They Are A-Changing
As technology evolves, we have to change with it. Our old wireless tone generator with standalone Windows scheduling software for school bell and PA systems also had end-of-life components, and didn’t make the cut. Not to worry: our new OneVue Bell Controller is more than capable of providing an alternative, with far easier cloud-based scheduling.
Also gone is the older receiver switch, which was our solution for turning a transmitter into a repeater. The new OneVue Sync Transmitter has a receiver built into the unit, so it can be easily configured via our Bluetooth apps (iOS and Android) as a repeater. And instead of using the small 12" rubber duck antenna on the old receiver switch, it alternates between transmitting and receiving on the 3-foot whip antenna (standard on the 1-Watt Internal Transmitter), giving the repeater much greater range.
When replacing repeaters, you should check with your premier partner or sales representative first, as some older transmitter combinations using the 14000 series transmitter may require full replacement, especially if your goal is to eventually take advantage of the new critical notification capability.
Finally, the XR Personal Series Clock was also subject to end-of-life components, and will be replaced by the upcoming MiniBoard, also due out in November.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
If you’re concerned about support on these older products, not to worry. Our older transmitters and related products will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future. And if you need a replacement, we will continue to support a direct option while supplies last on the older units, and eventually an equivalent option with the newer transmitters—especially with warrantied products.
OneVue just keeps getting better! We have some new enhancements and features to share from our May release. I hope you’re feeling the benefit of these changes – from February, April or this May release.
NEW! Alert Evaluation Report
Alarm fatigue is a big deal. It’s been listed on the Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals and the 2019 goals note “…it is important for a hospital to understand its own situation and to develop a systematic, coordinated approach…”
For temperature sensors (and only temperature sensors) reporting to OneVue, we have created a new “Alarm Evaluation Report” which may be created on the Reports Screen. This report summarizes the data associated with a particular sensor and gives simple recommendations for what to check if you have a refrigerator that is set too high or low, a sensor that is frequently unresponsive or a battery that is low.
An example is shown below to give you an idea of what type of data can be obtained. I know it can be difficult to find time to page through all your sensors. But we want you to be successful when using OneVue and find these types of periodic reviews can really help sites stay organized and aware of their troublesome spots.
Alert Email Notifications Now Contain the Time the Alert Started
We know our users are busy and sometimes have to make tough priority decisions on what problem you tackle next. We try to send as much relevant information as possible in our email alerts to allow you to assess the urgency of a message and received the feedback that knowing what time a given alert started would be helpful. We appreciated the feedback and you’ll now see that time on the emails you receive during an alert.
More Alert Rule Escalation Options
We encourage users to employ escalations as a last resort – if you have OneVue configured properly (and you should use the new Alert Evaluation Report if you’re not sure you do!), the alerts OneVue generates matter and should be addressed as quickly as possible. But we realize that in some emergencies, even the escalation alert notification to a manager or backup person may not result in action. . For those ultra-critical assets, you can now configure an Alert Rules with an additional escalation, so you can backup your back-up. That option is on the alert rules profile page for normal scheduling and has not yet been enabled for team scheduling. If you’d use this feature for teams, please let me know! email@example.com
Behold – Business Unit Admins Become More Powerful
I admit it – the workflow for adding a new user as a Business Unit Admin was pretty bad. You could add a user, but they appeared at the account level. So your Account Admin had to move your new users to the proper business unit in order to finish the job.
Now BU Admins can check a box to “Set Business Unit Roles Manually” when creating a user! When you do, additional fields appear below that line and you can use the drop-down fields to assign users to the Business Unit they are responsible for. Note that you will see all Business Units in the account, but ones you don’t have rights to will be greyed out.
Smaller (but still mighty!) Updates
The OneVue Audit Report had a number associated with a sensor that was hard to decipher. That linking nomenclature has been changed to the last 4 digits of the sensor’s 12-character Device ID (MAC address), so that you can more easily track what changes were made to which device by which user.
The Monitored Asset State History report is now available in CSV (comma separated variable) format so users can download and sort, filter, or highlight certain data.
A cloud-based solution gives us the ability to enhance your OneVue experience—and we have some new features to announce in our April release!
OneVue reporting enhancements
We know your job is easier when you have the right information at the right time. We are happy to share the following reporting enhancements, and we hope that you find they make a difference!
Report details updated
The power of headers and footers compels you! When you need to press “print,” reports now include your account name and page numbers. Remember, though, you can save a tree! OneVue archives all your reports and saves them for 7 years!
New Report Profile setting—specify a day’s 24-hour time period
All OneVue reports generate the data collected from midnight to midnight in order to capture the calendar date’s data. Depending on how frequently your devices check in, that meant there could be a lag in when data appeared in reports.
For example, nursing managers reviews their daily reports in the morning to confirm no temperature excursions had occurred overnight. But the data collected after midnight wouldn’t be available until the following day, due to their OneVue report only including data collected from midnight to midnight.
To solve this reporting requirement, we added a new report option. Now a report profile can be configured to set a custom day boundary, which sets the 24-hour time period for each day.
Below is a report configuration example that would provide the past 24 hours of readings for a nurse manager at 9:00 AM each morning.
In addition to the report’s configuration, another consideration is ensuring logged readings are sent to OneVue hourly, which is set by a sensor device’s check-in interval frequency. When set to a 1-hour check-in interval, all logged readings are sent to OneVue hourly, and will be included in your reports.
All List Views now have more customized settings
Several months ago, we released an update to the Dashboard List View. This update included several new settings that provided more customization to information displayed.
Our customers found these Dashboard List View updates very valuable, and asked to make these settings available for all List Views.
Now they can, and so can you! In our April release, we updated all List Views to include the additional settings below:
If you have a list view customization that’s working really well, please send me an email with the details. I’ll include your example in my next blog post.
New products are coming …
Some users have noticed hints of new products showing up in the OneVue software as we continue internal testing and start pilot studies. If you see something new and have questions, send me an email. I’m happy to chat about it. firstname.lastname@example.org
With our Primex OneVue cloud-based solution, we can upgrade our platform without disrupting users; that’s what we did at the end of February.
We are excited to share the details of this release with you!
List Views: Download more information at any time.
While OneVue scheduled reporting has proved useful to users, we have also gotten feedback requesting greater flexibility of reports. For example, when training a new user, our clients need to know what monitored assets are in a business unit; or when users want to share which sensors are in a suspended state.
We are happy to announce in this release, you can now download the data displayed in any List View at any time. We’re hoping this flexibility makes your jobs easier.
Located on the bottom of each List View, you will notice a new option: Save as CSV. List Views are found in all menu options – from the Dashboard, Monitored Assets, Sensors and so forth. When Save as CSV is selected, the current data displayed is downloaded as a file to your computer or mobile device.
Please know the CSV file is not stored in OneVue, it’s a one-time download to your local device. If you want to reformat the file and share with others, you will need to do that locally.
This new feature allows you to create a custom List View with the information you need, and then download to a CSV file. Remember to adjust your items per page; the data displayed on-screen is all that is downloaded.
Continued performance optimization. Faster data loading.
We were naturally concerned by reports that some of our larger enterprise accounts were seeing slow loading times when viewing their data. Our development team constantly monitors OneVue performance and can adjust performance during peak usage time periods. (A “peak usage time” is typically in the morning of the 1st of the month when many reports are generated simultaneously.)
So I challenged our development team to brainstorm new ways to improve the loading performance, and the February release includes some of these improvements. When viewing your data, it will load and display more quickly, which should result in a more fluid user experience.
I’m always eager to hear your feedback; feel free to email me with your impression of this change.
Primex OneVue logo change
We have big changes coming from Primex in the near future; some of these changes include how we explain and launch products. Our website refresh is underway and the first indication you may notice when logged into OneVue is the new logo and favicon, as well as slight changes to various colors.
We will keep you informed as we get closer to announcing the new stuff. It’s neat. Promise.
When I started at Primex in December, I spoke to a number of our customers and partners to understand what we did well and where we could improve. A common theme was how easy it was to install OneVue™ sensors. That made me happy since our first impression is important, but as I spoke to a growing number of people I learned that device pre-configuration, while great for many circumstances, wasn’t always ideal.
With the introduction of our OneVue Wired Device Configurator (OWDC), we address the need for flexibility when installing sensors. Primex developed this Android app, which is freely available from the Google Play store, to replace device pre-configuration as needed. You're still welcome to choose pre-configuration if that works for you, but we’re encouraging users to try OWDC since it enables faster shipping and provides for a great user experience.
OWDC also works with bell controllers, Smart-Sync™ bridges, and PoE digital clocks – the other Primex devices that connect to a facility's network. We do recommend having Primex configure bridges and clocks though – OWDC is best used to edit settings for these device types that are already in OneVue.
How can you get ready to use OWDC?
When placing your next order, you'll have the option to choose device pre-configuration or configure devices yourself with the new OWDC app. You’ll need the following:
Network profile: An existing Network Profile in OneVue is assigned to each device through OWDC. Viewing and managing Network Profiles settings is only available in OneVue.
If you need to order a cable, some Amazon links are included above but other sources are fine. Find the one that matches your Android device – either Micro-USB OTG or USB C – and the other end must be Mini-USB to connect to the sensor (or bridge, bell controller or clock). They’re typically less than $10 and can be reused for all OWDC compatible devices.
Oh, one common question is around iOS and OWDC. We’re not able to find a cable that can connect your iPhone or iPad to a sensor directly so that’s not an option at this time. I’m very attached to my iPhone, so I have a special Android tablet that I use for OWDC. I really like having the larger screen and keyboard if I’m configuring multiple sensors in a session.
Have more questions?
Don't forget, your Primex Channel Manager and our Tech Support team are always available to guide you through the process. If you have any questions or feedback on how we can do better, I’d love to hear it!
If I were being completely honest, when I entered the time synchronization industry, I thought it was a low-tech world where only a select few people in a facility even care how these systems function. While the latter is likely still true today, I have come to embrace the notion that advances in technology can greatly impact even something as routine as ensuring all your clocks tell the exact same time. Technological advances in an relatively mature industry like ours are typically manifested in one of three ways:
Technology that enables tasks to be done faster
Technology that enables devices to become smaller
Technology that removes complexity
With our introduction of Smart-Sync™ with Bluetooth® low energy technology, Primex has just changed the game in time sync by taking “uncomplicated” to another level.
There are two prominent incumbent systems in market today. First are systems that leverage a transmitter that receives time from GPS or NTP (network time protocol) and then broadcasts the time out to the clocks. The second are those systems that leverage Wi-Fi to communicate with each device. Both systems have inherent challenges either with costly infrastructure or with the complexity and burden that comes with a system where hundreds of devices need to ride on your Wi-Fi network. Our new Bluetooth® solution removes everything that is challenging with previous systems and just makes time sync simple.
We recognize that while our existing solutions are extremely stable and reliable, each have their challenges and in the spirit of putting our consumers first, we continue to leverage technology to remove that complexity. By utilizing Bluetooth® low energy technology, our clocks are truly “plug and play” while at the same time, require less power meaning fewer batteries are needed to run them and even fewer battery changes are required over the course of their useful life.
At the end of the day, our new Smart-Sync™ system delivers the same solution of high quality, reliable synchronized clocks that Primex is known for, but the simplicity with which it accomplishes it changes everything!
In hospitals, timekeeping has always been a big part of daily operations. But in today’s era of healthcare reform—where intense focus has been placed on improving care quality and outcomes while simultaneously controlling costs—accurate timekeeping has become an even greater issue. Indeed, facilities that fail to implement effective timekeeping strategies are putting themselves at a serious disadvantage.
First and foremost, inaccurate timekeeping can result in errors that put patients at risk. In the hospital, perhaps more than anywhere else, time is truly of the essence. In some cases, it can even mean the difference between life and death. For example, in cases where patients require medication at precise intervals—or are being treated with multiple drugs—doses must be administered in a timely manner to ensure effective treatment and to avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions.
But what happens if the clocks throughout a facility are not precisely synchronized? What happens, for example, if a patient is given a first dose of medication in the ICU and then moved to a bed in a different ward prior to the next dose? If the clock in the new room is not in sync with the ICU clock, the dose may be given too soon—or too late. Indeed, for certain healthcare procedures and treatments, even a 3-minute time discrepancy can have serious effect on the quality of care.
Yet that’s not the end of the story.
Timekeeping errors that negatively impact treatment not only put patients at risk, but also make hospitals vulnerable to costly malpractice claims. Unfortunately, the cost associated with malpractice—both in rising premiums and payouts—is a huge industry problem (in 2012, more than $3 billion was spent in medical malpractice payouts).
Here’s the good news: advanced tech solutions are making it easier than ever for facilities to overcome many of their timekeeping challenges. Today, sophisticated clock synchronization solutions are available that ensure every single clock—in every ward and every room in the hospital, the medical office buildings and throughout every location on the facility network—is accurate and precisely synchronized. Even better, with cloud-based services, time synchronization solutions are typically quick to implement and nearly effortless to manage.
Hospitals and other facilities that store medication and other critical inventory in temperature controlled environments are required to provide compliance documentation in accordance with various guidelines issued by the CDC and other authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs).
Unfortunately, maintaining compliance isn’t always so easy.
CDC guidelines, for example, call for continuous monitoring of vaccine storage unit temperatures using “only calibrated temperature monitoring devices with a Certificate of Traceability and Calibration Testing.” The CDC guidelines also state, “Calibration testing should be performed every 1 to 2 years from the last testing date or according to the manufacturer’s suggested timeline.”
For many organizations, manually tracking the certification paperwork and tracking the timelines for re-testing each of their temperature monitoring devices is a daunting process. Adding insult to injury, manual tracking increases the chance for error, and if documentation is inaccurate or incomplete, organizations can face citations by AHJs.
But, finally, things are looking up.
Healthcare, perhaps more than any other industry, has been impacted by the high-tech revolution. From the introduction and adoption of electronic medical records to new medical device technologies and procedures, breakthrough technologies are changing the face of modern medicine at a rapid pace.
And now we’re starting to see major innovations in facility monitoring technologies—including new and emerging technologies for probe certification tracking and calibration testing.
At Primex Wireless, for example, we just introduced a high-tech, “intelligent” temperature monitoring solution. Our new solution allows organizations to automatically track each probe to ensure alignment with specific policies regarding probe recertification or replacement; quickly access probe status reports; plan timely probe replacement, and easily retrieve the documentation needed to demonstrate compliance to all AHJs. You can learn more here.
Cloud-based solutions are still relatively new, and some decision-makers have been hesitant to try them. However, we seem to have hit a turning point. Today, cloud computing has become the status quo for a growing number of industries. Even the healthcare industry (which has been notoriously behind in cloud adoption) has come around. The 2014 HIMSS Analytics Cloud Survey revealed that 83% of IT healthcare organizations were using cloud services and another 9.3% were planning to do so (and those numbers are likely even higher today).
What’s behind this migration to the cloud? In today’s competitive market, it has become increasingly clear that the benefits of cloud solutions far outweigh any risks.
10 business benefits of a cloud-based solution:
Improves data security – In most cases, cloud solution vendors provide higher levels of data security than businesses can handle on-premises; they have the expert human resources needed to assess vulnerabilities, mitigate risk and keep data safe.
Ensures data safety – There’s no risk of losing data due to theft or loss of a computer, laptop, or (gasp!) paper files.
Facilitates regulatory compliance – Complete and accurate data and documentation is stored and managed in the cloud and is accessible on demand.
Lowers capital expenditure – High-cost hardware is replaced with a pay-as-you-go subscription model.
Provides fast deployment – Easy setup and management.
Improves operational agility – Businesses can quickly scale cloud capacity up or down as needs fluctuate.
Provides services on-demand – Businesses only pay for what they need.
Lowers maintenance costs – Updates and technical fixes are handled by the service provider, allowing for on-going improvements with little or no disruption to daily operations.
Eliminates work silos – Cloud-based access enables better collaboration, coordination and benchmarking between departments.
Improves resource management – Cloud-solution vendors provide IT support and services, allowing companies to focus more resources on immediate business goals.
What's holding your business back from adopting cloud-based technology solutions?
Flu season is upon us! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and last until as late as May, with peaks typically between December and February.
Health care facilities—as well as many pharmacies, grocery stores, schools and workplaces—often offer free or low cost “mass vaccination” events at the start of flu season.
In early November, I took my family to an off-site flu shot event offered through our healthcare provider. When we got to the front of the line, I noticed that the vaccines were stored in a portable red cooler. It was the same type of cooler we use for barbeque parties and camping trips.
That got me wondering about whether flu shots stored in a camping cooler would actually protect us.
Vaccines are extremely temperature sensitive. Proper storage and reliable temperature monitoring is critical for maintaining the integrity of the vaccine. CDC guidelines state that vaccines must be stored properly “from the time they are manufactured until they are administered” and warns that “exposure of vaccines to temperatures outside the recommended ranges can decrease their potency and reduce the effectiveness and protection they provide.”
There’s no doubt that mass vaccination events do a great public service. Indeed, the number of people who get an annual flu shot is greatly increased due to such events. And when more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through the community.
So, what’s the best way to store vaccines during off-site events and clinics? Here’s what the CDC recommends:
If a properly functioning storage unit is not available, vaccine may be maintained in a properly conditioned insulated cooler.
The containers should remain closed as much as possible.
Only the amount of vaccine needed at one time should be removed for preparation and administration.
A calibrated thermometer (preferably with a biosafe glycol-encased thermometer probe) should be placed as close as possible to the vaccines within the container.
At a minimum, temperature readings in the insulated cooler should be read and recorded prior to leaving the provider’s main office, upon arrival at the vaccine administration clinic location, every hour during the vaccine administration clinic session, upon completion of the vaccine administration clinic session, and after return to the main office. Checking and recording the temperature in storage containers ensures that if temperatures are increasing or decreasing over time, providers can intervene before the vaccine is exposed and potentially wasted.
For the 2015-2016 flu season, manufacturers have projected they will provide between 171 to 179 million doses of vaccine for the U.S. market. Have you had yours?
Senior Vice President, Business Development - Pharmacy
Like many State Boards of Pharmacy across the United States, the Oregon State Board has limited rules on the storage of drugs. But that’s about to change
Beginning January 1, 2016, pharmacies throughout Oregon will face new, stricter requirements surrounding the proper storage of drugs, cold storage monitoring and drug vaccine storage.
Here’s a of Oregon’s new rules:
A pharmacy must store all drugs at the proper temperature according to manufacturer’s published guidelines.
pharmacies that store vaccines: A system of continuous temperature
monitoring with automated data logging and physical confirmation must be
utilized. Documentation of the temperature of each active storage unit
must be logged at least twice daily, data must be downloaded weekly, and
system validations must be conducted quarterly.
All drug refrigeration systems must be measured continuously
and documented either manually twice daily to include minimum, maximum
and current temperatures or with an automated system capable of creating
a producible history of temperature readings.
A pharmacy must
adhere to a monitoring plan, which includes, but is not limited to . . .
maintenance of records of temperature logs for a minimum of three
According to the Oregon State Board’s meeting minutes on the topic, the new rules are . The Board’s compliance director, Gary Miner, indicated that some of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines were incorporated into the draft rules.
To deliver safer, more effective services to patients, it seems likely that other State Boards of Pharmacy may follow suit.
Many Oregon pharmacies scrambling to prepare for new compliance requirements—as well as forward-thinking pharmacies across the country—are halting their manual temperature monitoring processes in favor of automated solutions. That’s because manual monitoring systems—which can result in missed checks, inaccurate readings and incomplete documentation—create increased risks to both compliance and patient safety. Manual monitoring can also reduce a pharmacy’s profitability. Indeed, it increases the chances for inventory loss and is a tedious and time-consuming use of a pharmacy’s skilled human resources.
Today’s top automated environmental monitoring solutions offer a range of features—from continuous monitoring and preventative alerting to meticulous reporting and documentation tools—which can help pharmacies ensure compliance, even in the face of tightening drug storage requirements.
Although it’s hard to believe with much of the country still battling a persistent winter, this Saturday night/Sunday morning marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time (DST). At 2:00 a.m. Sunday, March 13, nearly all of the U.S. will set its clocks forward one hour (spring ahead, fall back), resulting in more daylight hours to use for enjoying outdoor activities – including spring sports and events.
Of course, the thought of DST isn’t quite so pleasant for school maintenance personnel who must visit each room with a clock over the weekend and spring it forward manually so all clocks on campus are showing the correct time Monday morning. It can be a costly, time-consuming nightmare – especially with many schools already operating with short maintenance staffs.
For schools using the Primex Wireless Time Synchronization Platform, however, the change to DST is essentially a non-event. The platform automatically adjusts and synchronizes every clock on campus to the proper time with no human intervention required, savings hours of work and expense. Not to mention eliminating excuses for tardiness because the clocks were off.
If you’re not familiar with it, Primex Wireless Time Synchronization Platforms use either a schools’ existing Wi-Fi network or a specialized 72MHz transmission frequency to synchronize all clocks to a single time source. As a result, there’s no panicked calls from faculty saying the clock in their room is off, no students are lingering in the hallways, and your maintenance staff is free to take care of other, more important tasks.
It’s amazing how quickly we’ve come to rely on our mobile devices for answers. In just a few short years it’s become a part of our DNA.
That’s what makes the introduction of the Primex Wireless OneVue™ Intelligent Monitoring Platform so exciting. Because OneVue is cloud-based, healthcare organizations of all sizes can now manage the monitoring processes for storage temperatures and room temperature and humidity on any wireless or desktop device using any web browser.
The key to OneVue’s intuitive user interface is its mobile-first, responsive design that automatically adjusts to fit the screen and optimize the presentation on smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktop computers. All without downloading any mobile apps or plug-ins. That, combined with its low cost of entry, makes OneVue ideal for organizations of all sizes, from small clinics or pharmacies to large, multi-site health systems.
In fact, because OneVue is a true cloud-based application, the only IT assistance required is configuring the OneVue platform for an organization’s network. There are no servers or software to maintain, and all application updates are applied by Primex. Facilities personnel can even pre-configure the PrimexTEMP or PrimexIAQ sensors before shipment so they automatically find the appropriate network when they are plugged in at the site, delivering true plug-and-play simplicity.
However, what makes OneVue truly unique is that data generated by the sensors is tied to the room, the physical equipment (such as refrigerators) or the inventory (such as pharmaceuticals or nutritionals) being monitored, rather than to the sensors. A comprehensive data trail stays with the monitored asset, meaning users don’t have to merge records to get the complete compliance picture each time a sensor is changed or assets are moved. You’ll always have complete, historical data trails for compliance audits, preventative maintenance, benchmarking, cost comparison, etc.
OneVue’s intelligent structure lets you assign user rights by locations and business units to give access to only the data pertinent to their jobs and minimize distractions. Alert routing rules deliver notifications to the right person at the right time via email, text or phone.
Robust functionality with mobile accessibility is essential in today’s healthcare facilities struggling to manage a growing number of sites with fewer resources. The OneVue Intelligent Monitoring Platform delivers.
To arrange a demo of the OneVue Intelligent Monitoring Platform, please click here and a Primex account representative will contact you.
The monitoring and management of hospital personnel potentially exposed to patients with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has brought a renewed focus to the protocols, equipment and isolation rooms used in these quarantine situations. Although Ebola is not considered an airborne disease, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that healthcare facilities restrict certain procedures and treatment for Ebola patients to a private room – ideally an Airborne Infection Isolation Room (AIIR) – when feasible.
In a healthcare facility, control of airborne contaminants is essential to providing a safe, healing environment. Yet many healthcare facilities today still rely on smoke tubes or flutter strips to check the airflow and differential pressure of critical healthcare areas, including the AIIRs being used when treating certain infectious diseases. This despite guidelines from the CDC, Joint Commission and ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE that call for permanently installed monitoring devices for more precise control and safety.
With the Ebola scare, hospitals around the country are quickly realizing they need to adopt a more consistent, continuous, automated method of monitoring for CDC compliance, not only for Ebola, but also for patients with serious, communicable airborne diseases.
The challenge is time. Installing most environmental monitoring systems often requires additional transmitters, bridges or other hardware in addition to the installation of the sensors themselves. However, customers using or adopting the SNS™ platform are leveraging their existing network infrastructure for continuous monitoring simply by adding SNS™ Differential Pressure Monitoring sensors, one of several Wi-Fi based indoor air quality sensors from Primex Wireless.
As your organization considers its differential pressure monitoring situation going forward, Primex Wireless is here to help. Below is a list of reference websites and a link to guidelines for using differential pressure monitoring to protect patients, caregivers and visitors.
Last week, Primex Wireless was made aware of yet another serious vulnerability discovered in the global IT community. The Bash Code Injection Vulnerability, commonly known as "Shellshock", is very serious and parallels the recent “Heartbleed” security threat in terms of scope and potential risk.
Shellshock is a vulnerability in a commonly used system level software known as Bash, and is used by many Linux-based business systems. It is the shell for CentOS, the Linux-based operating systems used by the Primex Wireless AMP software. With this vulnerability, a hacker could execute arbitrary commands on a machine running the Bash software to obtain private data or manipulate the system.
Primex Wireless Response
We take these threats very seriously, and regard our customers' data integrity and network security among our highest concerns. As is often the case with vulnerabilities such as this one, patches have been released by operating system suppliers that must be applied to secure the software. We have applied the appropriate patches to all Primex hosted AMP 5.x servers to protect our customers using this newest deployment option. No action is required by customers using our hosted AMP 5.x software.
Customers with AMP 5.0 or newer installed on the LAN-side of their networks are encouraged to obtain the latest operating system updates from CentOS.
Customers running older versions of AMP software (4.x or older) will first need to upgrade to AMP 5.x, and then apply necessary operating system patches.
Other Primex devices such as clocks and sensors do not require updates.
We are here to help! If you have additional concerns or questions, please contact Primex Wireless technical support, or feel free to call us at 1-800-404-8112.
The Heartbleed bug has emerged this week as the most severe Internet threat in the past 12 to 24 months. Heartbleed strikes at a weakness in the OpenSSL library could allow attackers access to secure information, such as user names, passwords, and other sensitive data. According to www.heartbleed.com, this vulnerability “… allows stealing the information protected … by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet.”
In short, the vulnerability exploits a weakness in the very engines used for protection. What is the risk? Attackers could steal data and secret keys, listen to secure communications, and access data directly from application services.
Primex Wireless Invests Heavily in Security
For most Primex Wireless customers, the Application Management Platform (AMP), the software hub of the Synchronous Network System (SNS), is deployed on the LAN-side of client networks. This is how the application was designed to be used and keeps the software and data separate from Internet threats such as Heartbleed.
The recent AMP 5.0 release was specifically designed for Internet-based hosting, and has a robust application stack designed to protect the application and data from Internet vulnerabilities. This includes the selection of CentOS as the new operating system for AMP version 5.0. With a reputation for being stable and predictable, CentOS is closely aligned with Red Hat Linux and is powered by a team of core technologists committed to performance and security. With one update and a quick reboot, any AMP 5.0 appliance can be updated and protected from the Heartbleed vulnerability. Within hours of the Internet bulletins announcing the Heartbleed threat, all Primex hosted AMP 5.0 servers were updated and protected.
Primex Wireless will continue to invest the resources to stay ahead of security threats. Our commitment to reliability and the inviolability of our client’s information is evidenced by the performance of our new PrimexTEMP and PrimexIAQ sensor platform, and shown in our ability to respond rapidly with AMP 5.0 to the Heartbleed threat.
The December issue of Health Facilities Management (HFM) magazine showcases the 2013 Trends in Healthcare – primarily the expanding role of community-based care. More and more off-campus facilities are providing care closer to home, as well as more cost-effective specialized care. Yet the requirements for maintaining regulatory compliance remain the same whether the care facility is the main hospital or an affiliated, freestanding clinic located miles away.
What’s more, operational budgets rarely keep pace with the system expansion and the greater square footage the facilities team must manage. With that in mind, HFM magazine also examines how growing health systems are “tying it all together” with a robust, integrated facilities, biomedical and information technology (IT) infrastructure. The importance of implementing solutions that can monitor and document compliance data of several facility systems at once cannot be overemphasized, not just for efficiency’s sake, but also to benchmark performance across all locations.
An integrated IT solution that provides information about the clinic environment – temperature, humidity, refrigeration temperatures, emergency light status and more – without requiring a physical check by facility personnel is key to operational efficiency and maintaining compliance. Data is gathered onto a centralized repository and displayed on a single, customizable dashboard, giving managers 24/7, at-a-glance visibility of the status of every building in the system. Emerging issues in off-campus facilities can be identified and the appropriate maintenance team dispatched before the issues become big problems, saving time and money, and minimizing downtime of essential operations.
While facility managers in expanding health systems are acutely aware of the need for more efficient processes to manage off-campus buildings, the truth is, all healthcare facility managers face the same pressure to cut operational costs. With a single platform approach to facility monitoring and documentation requirements, facility managers can consolidate disparate, disorganized and error-prone facility management and compliance processes and maximize operational efficiency and productivity.
The results of the 2013 USP Chapter <797> Compliance Study show hospital pharmacies continue to struggle with USP Chapter <797> compliance. While a majority of respondents believe USP <797> is a valuable standard of practice that should be implemented, financial/budgetary restrictions and physical plant limitations are considered to be the primary barriers to adoption of all the guidelines.
The national study of sterile compounding practices has been conducted for the last three years by Pharmacy Purchasing & Products Magazine in partnership with CriticalPoint, LLC. The 2013 study included 1,045 participants, 76 percent from hospital pharmacies. In addition to the questions that measured compliance to 36 specific domains, participants were asked to provide feedback regarding the drivers and barriers to adoption of the USP <797> guidelines.
Differential Pressure Compliance Lags One of the areas that received low scores on the survey is airflows and pressure differential monitoring. USP <797> has specific requirements for pressure differential monitoring, maintenance and documentation. Yet when study participants were asked the following question, only 56.6 percent gave an affirmative answer:
“There is evidence that mechanisms exist to report excursions, repair defects, and document actions taken as a result of any out of limit pressure/airflow condition until resolution.”
The number of respondents in compliance is up from 49.8 percent in 2011, but is down from the 2012 results of 59.8 percent.
Monitoring airflows is a fairly simple way to decrease the incidence of airborne contaminants in sterile processing areas. Continuous monitoring with audible, visual and email notification capabilities can detect changes in pressure differentials as soon as they occur and automatically alert the proper personnel to take action. Pharmacy personnel do not have to take manual readings several times a day and can concentrate on more valuable tasks. If pressure differential excursions do occur, they are immediately detected, reported and documented in complete compliance with USP Chapter <797>. Compare the features of SNS Differential Pressure Monitoring to the requirements of USP <797> and other regulatory agencies »
View this webinar to learn some quick troubleshooting checks you can make to your Primex Wireless Time Synchronization system to ensure all your clocks stay in sync.
If you still need help after trying these tips, you can contact our Tech Support team one of three ways. Our Technical Support Team is available to respond to tech support cases from 7 am to 7 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday
Hospitals and healthcare facilities that manually monitor the temperature and humidity of medical refrigeration units face the risk of losing thousands of dollars of inventory in only minutes if the units fail. A 24/7 automated sensor monitoring system with alerting features is the answer to the three challenges of manual temperature monitoring identified in a recent Primex Wireless survey of healthcare executives: Proximity, Budget Restrictions and Timely Compliance.
The Joint Commission, a nonprofit organization that accredits more than 20,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States, assumes that hospitals have the staff level to check medical refrigeration units twice a day. However, today’s budget constraints rarely allow administrators to justify hiring staff solely for manual temperature monitoring. According to the recent Primex survey referenced in my last article, 65 percent of hospital facilities managers reported they feel staffing for manual temperature monitoring is inadequate, and, in turn, more than three quarters of respondents anticipated compliance issues in the next two years.
As with proximity challenges, the solution to budget restrictions is a 24/7 automated sensor monitoring system with alerting features for when temperatures stray out of range.
In fiscal terms, an automated system simply takes fewer people to operate. Furthermore, the savings in staff costs are not shifted to IT expenses. An automated system, such as the Primex Wireless SNS Temperature Monitoring solution, maximizes a hospital’s existing IT investments, carrying data securely over existing Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections. In most cases, the system shouldn’t require any additional network equipment. All data is consolidated in a centralized repository allowing staff in various locations access to the same information from any computer with access to the network and the Web-based interface.
The bottom line is large budgets for temperature monitoring are no longer necessary, and the savings don’t stop there. An automated system with alerting reduces the risk of losses of sensitive medical inventories to virtually zero. Plus, all the staff time once spent on a manual system is now allocated to patient care, where it should be. This means less money spent on staffing for manual checks and more money spent doing what hospitals do best: Care for patients in the best possible way.
We recently polled Facility, Environment of Care and Compliance Managers at hospitals and healthcare facilities about the effectiveness of manual processes for monitoring temperature levels in medical refrigeration units. Their responses led me to two main conclusions: Manual monitoring can lead to losses of medical inventory; and, Risk & Compliance Managers are worried the situation will cause regulatory compliance issues.
Managers can remove the risks associated with manual processes by automating sensor monitoring for medical refrigeration units. In this 3-part series, I explore why and how.
When we asked Facility, EC and Compliance Managers at hospitals and healthcare facilities about the effectiveness of manual monitoring for medical refrigeration, three of five reported the loss of medical inventory, such as vaccines or drugs, due to out-of-range temperatures. They also told us the situation makes them nervous. More than 80 percent said they are concerned about manual monitoring of temperature and humidity levels of refrigeration units. More than 75 percent of that same group feels manual monitoring will cause a regulatory compliance issues in the next two years.
In my professional opinion, these managers have good reason for anxiety because the manual process of checking medical refrigerator units comes with three considerable challenges: Proximity, Budget Restrictions and Timely Compliance. The solution to each problem is the same: A 24/7 automated sensor monitoring system with alerting capabilities.
While some refrigeration units tend to be close to areas of patient care, such as an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or Neonatal Care Unit (NICU), they also are in basements or storage areas. Staying current with every check for every refrigerator requires more resources and time than the facility staff can spare. The clinical team – primarily nurses – is tasked with checking and recording temperatures. While a workable solution, it’s certainly not ideal because clinical staff members are distracted from their primary job – patient care. If a medical refrigeration unit fails when staff isn’t able to break away from patient care, or if staff members are not near the unit for any other reason, thousands of dollars of medical inventory could be lost.
Additionally, a campus could have multiple locations that are short-staffed (or not staffed at all) during non-peak times, such as weekends. With short failure windows, only minutes need pass for thousands of dollars of medical inventory to be lost when a refrigerator fails and no one is in the vicinity to notice.
With an automated monitoring system, the distance issue dissolves immediately. Devices on units leverage existing Wi-Fi networks to monitor and track temperatures, regardless of where units are located in the hospital or even the entire campus. Alerts can be configured for immediate notification when high or low thresholds are breached. These alerts can be configured to notify the facilities team only when the temperature has stayed out of range for a specified period of time – preventing managers from receiving alerts every time a refrigerator door is opened.
If problems arise, a graphical display of the facility’s floor plan guides support teams to the trouble spots. And when the monitoring manager is not in the office or is moving around the campus, the system sends email or text-message alerts to mobile devices.
Implementing an automated system means all the time spent on a manual system is now allocated to patient care, where it should be. This means less money spent on staffing for manual checks and more money spent doing what hospitals do best: Care for patients in the best possible way.
Now is the time to make some quick checks of your Primex Wireless Time Synchronization system to ensure all your clocks make the shift when Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 10, 2013. Take an hour to view the recording of the live webinar I presented last fall to learn what to check.
Remember our Technical Support Team is available from 7 am to 7 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday
Call: 800-404-8112 Press Option 3 for 72MHz GPS Clocks, Transmitters, and Tone Generators Press Option 4 for SNS Clocks
A recent study by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS OIG) uncovered that providers generally did not meet vaccine management requirements nor maintain required documentation. As a result of the study, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued new recommendations for the storage and handling of temperature-sensitive vaccines.
When the HHS OIG report was released in June, 2012, ABC News published the story on the evening news, creating higher awareness of vaccine storage issues among the general public.
Use of biosafe glycol-encased probes or similar temperature-buffered probes to measure temperatures within refrigeration units rather than measurement of ambient air temperature.
Use of digital data loggers with detachable probes that record and store temperature information at frequent programmable intervals for 24-hour temperature monitoring.
Use of stand-alone refrigerator and stand-alone freezer units for vaccine storage rather than combination units.
Discontinuing the use of dorm-style or bar-style refrigerator/freezers for ANY vaccine storage.
Weekly review of vaccine expiration dates and rotation of vaccine stock.
Our own independent study confirms the need for automated temperature monitoring to protect valuable vaccines, pharmaceuticals and other temperature-sensitive medical supplies. More than 75 percent of the Facility, EC and Compliance Managers at hospitals and healthcare facilities polled feel that manual monitoring will cause a regulatory compliance issue in the next two years.
With so much at stake – and now new government guidelines in place – can you afford to take chances with the storage temperatures of your valuable vaccines?
Primex Wireless solutions automate, monitor, document and report essential activities performed by the facility management staff including compliance surveys, temperature monitoring, indoor air quality monitoring, emergency light testing and time synchronization. All solutions are delivered via a single software platform which allows facility teams to manage multiple functions without having to deploy, learn and maintain multiple systems. Primex sensors, clocks, emergency lights and other devices leverage 802.11 b/g wireless and Ethernet networks to communicate diagnostic data and receive updates. No additional infrastructure is necessary and a greater return on the investment into existing IT networks is achieved.
Reducing cost, improving facility staff efficiency and reducing risk are significant gains realized from Primex solutions. By automating repetitive and routine tasks to comply with regulatory requirements, Primex Wireless technology can ensure your facility is achieving ongoing compliance while reducing impact on facility staff.
Ten years. In some ways it doesn’t seem like a very long time. But factor in the 10 years we are talking about and, well, you understand – the worst Recession since the Great Depression, Apple, Facebook, Social Media, Housing bubble, Google synonymous with a verb, two of the longest wars in U.S. history, Euro crisis, and literally everything moving “online”. There have been plenty of challenges, but our unrelenting focus on customer needs, innovation and employee satisfaction has made Primex Wireless the leading provider of solutions for automating and maintaining facility compliance.
We are celebrating our 10th anniversary by recapping some of our more recent successes, including a run of newly achieved milestones, partnerships and products that showcase the company’s growth and development in its key markets – healthcare, education, manufacturing and government. A few of the highlights include:
Achieving a 97 percent customer satisfaction rating
More than 13,500 customers in just 10 years with more than 100 added each month
Over 1,000,000 installed devices
Products sold in 29 countries world-wide
Release of the third generation of our SNS platform software, which allows customers to not only synchronize time, but also monitor temperature and humidity, detect water leaks and remotely test emergency lights
Launch of an innovative product offering – SNS Surveyor – to assist healthcare facilities with Joint Commission Life Safety compliance and other continuous improvement projects
In December we expanded our ability to serve government customers by partnering with Technical Communities, Inc. to sell Primex Wireless solutions through Government Services Administration (GSA) schedules and open market bids.
We are proud of these accomplishments because they demonstrate why Primex Wireless has grown to become an industry leader during the last decade. Our solutions are where our clients need them, always working whenever they need them. Our goal is to serve our customers for another 100 years by continuing to improve our products, release even more innovative solutions and deploy another million devices to the field.