A message regarding COVID-19

5 Proactive Ways Hospitals Can Help Prevent the Spread of Epidemic Threats


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.

2. Effectively Communicate Isolation Protocols Internally

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.

For additional information about how you can implement monitoring products to protect your hospital from a possible outbreak, visit http://www.primexinc.com/healthcare.

A message from our CEO regarding COVID-19

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:

  1. We have been sanitizing all surfaces throughout our premises every evening and will continue that practice.
  2. We have put a hold on all international travel; and domestic business travel is restricted.
  3. Employees are not permitted to attend trade shows or large group events.
  4. Face-to-face meetings are replaced with video conferences.
  5. 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.

Spring Cleaning Checklist: Add These Facility Maintenance Must-Do's To Your Running List This Season


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.

OneVue Update - The Evolution of Resolutions


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.

Please visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7304481658833135884 to register. Even if you can’t attend live, registering will get you a link to the recording so you can review it later.


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.

Alert Resolutions

  • 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


General

  • 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.
  • Improved performance for large data objects

Takeaways from the Campus Security and Life Safety Conference


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.

For more information about how you can help improve security and safety on your school campuses, visit www.primexinc.com/education.

Don't Let Water Cause a School Closure


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.

When Seconds Count: Bolstering Schools’ Crisis Response Plan with Custom Notifications


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.

For more information about how you can help strengthen your school’s response plans, visit www.primexinc.com/education.

Mission Critical: Preventing the Spread of the Flu in Hospitals


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.

Why Primex Family of Companies Is Closed For The Holidays


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.

Top 5 Trends Shaping Integrated Systems in Schools in 2020


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.

USP 797 and Environmental Monitoring

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.

USP 797 – Pharmaceutical Compounding – Sterile Preparations

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).

Summary

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.

OneVue Monitor September 2019 Release




What Really Matters

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.

Alert Resolutions

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
  • Probe replaced
  • Unit already empty
  • Contents discarded
  • Adjusted thermostat
  • Closed door

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.)

User Reports

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!

OneVue Full Subscription: Unlocking the Potential of InfoBoards



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.
  • Warning reports 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.

OneVue Monitor: Asset Summary Report Deep Dive


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.

Audit Scenario

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: kmcmillan@primexinc.com. 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!

InfoBoards: Part of Overall Emergency Preparedness


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.

Emergency Plans

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.

FEMA also publishes a useful Sample School Emergency Operations Plan. As we all know, it is often easier to work from a template than to create a working document from scratch. Canadian schools may be interested in Nova Scotia’s School Emergency Management Plan, for much the same reasons.

Some states offer templates ready-to-go, in full compliance with the needs and regulations which apply locally, such as the Arizona school site emergency response template.

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?

Situational Awareness

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!

Thanks so much,
Art

Safety and Compliance: USP 795


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.

Calibration

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!

Katie

When Seconds Count: OneVue Notify InfoBoards

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.

Critical Notifications

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.

Reliability, Cost

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.

Alertes

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.

Fiabilité, coût

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 !

Don’t Let H2O Ruin Your Day

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!

— Katie, kmcmillan@primexinc.com



Ne laissez pas H2O gâcher votre journée

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!

- Katie, kmcmillan@primexinc.com

Introducing the OneVue Sync Transmitter



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.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions! — Art amahanna@primexinc.com

OneVue Summer 2019 Release

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.

I hope this report helps you! If you have feedback, send me an email – kmcmillan@primexinc.com.

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! kmcmillan@primexinc.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.

OneVue April update: Reporting and List Views now more powerful

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. kmcmillan@primexinc.com

OneVue February 2019 Release

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.


Introducing the OneVue Wired Device Configurator (OWDC)

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:

  • Android phone or tablet: Minimum 25% battery life remaining. View compatible Android devices
  • Login requirements: Your OneVue user account must be assigned to the Account Admin role. Log in to OWDC with your OneVue email address and password.
  • Connection cable (dependent on Android device): Micro-USB OTG to Mini-USB cable or USB C to Mini-USB cable.
  • 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!

Synchronized Time Just Hit a New High

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:

  1. Technology that enables tasks to be done faster 
  2. Technology that enables devices to become smaller
  3. 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!

Synchronized Clocks: A Simple (Yet Vital) Step Toward Better Healthcare

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.

Here’s why:

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. 

Temperature Probe Certification Tracking: Is the Struggle Over?

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.

What's Driving Businesses to the Cloud?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Ensures data safety – There’s no risk of losing data due to theft or loss of a computer, laptop, or (gasp!) paper files.
  3. Facilitates regulatory compliance – Complete and accurate data and documentation is stored and managed in the cloud and is accessible on demand.
  4. Lowers capital expenditure – High-cost hardware is replaced with a pay-as-you-go subscription model.
  5. Provides fast deployment – Easy setup and management.
  6. Improves operational agility – Businesses can quickly scale cloud capacity up or down as needs fluctuate.
  7. Provides services on-demand – Businesses only pay for what they need.
  8. 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.
  9. Eliminates work silos – Cloud-based access enables better collaboration, coordination and benchmarking between departments.
  10. 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: Maintaining Vaccine Efficacy At Mass Vaccination Events

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?

Oregon Implements New Drug Storage Rules for Pharmacies: Will Your State Be Next?

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.
  • For 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 years.

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.


Reminder: Daylight Saving Time Begins Sunday

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. 


True Cloud-Based, Mobile-first Design Comes to Healthcare Environmental Monitoring

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.

Clearing the AIIR about the Ebola Scare

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.

Protect Your Primex System from the "Shellshock" Bug

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.

Primex Protects Clients from the Heartbleed Bug

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.

Integrated Technology Keeps Healthcare Operations in Sync

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 2013 USP Compliance Study

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 »

Visit the Pharmacy Purchasing & Products website to read the full results of the 2013 USP <797> Compliance Study »

To access the free Gap Analysis tools and receive a free action plan to improve your USP <797> compliance, visit CriticalPoint, LLC »

Fall Back With Perfectly Synchronized Time

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

  1. Complete our Technical Support Contact Form to automatically open a case in our queue
  2. Call: 800-404-8112
    Press Option 3 for 72MHz GPS Clocks, Transmitters, and Tone Generators
    Press Option 4 for SNS Clocks
  3. Email: techsupport@primexinc.com

Part II: Manual Temperature Monitoring is Breaking Budgets

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.

Budget Restrictions

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.

Part I: Refrigeration Woes Leave Healthcare in the Cold

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.

Proximity

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.

5 Tips for a Glitch-Free Switch to Daylight Saving Time

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

Email: techsupport@primexinc.com

Can You Guarantee The Safety of Your Vaccines?

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.

To help mitigate vaccine storage risks, the new Interim Guidance from the CDC focuses on five key recommendations:

  1. Use of biosafe glycol-encased probes or similar temperature-buffered probes to measure temperatures within refrigeration units rather than measurement of ambient air temperature.
  2. Use of digital data loggers with detachable probes that record and store temperature information at frequent programmable intervals for 24-hour temperature monitoring.
  3. Use of stand-alone refrigerator and stand-alone freezer units for vaccine storage rather than combination units.
  4. Discontinuing the use of dorm-style or bar-style refrigerator/freezers for ANY vaccine storage.
  5. 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?

For more detailed information about the new guidelines, download the official CDC documents, or visit the Vaccine Storage & Handling Guidance section of the CDC Website.

Facility Monitoring & Compliance Management Overview

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.

Primex Wireless Celebrates Company's 10-Year Anniversary with Streak of Successes

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.

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