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The Importance of Cold Chain Management with IoT Technologies in the Healthcare Industry

By Nancy Rowling

clock Dec 14, 2020
bookmark 7 min
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In the Healthcare Industry, Cold Chain System enables medication and vaccines to be delivered to places of need, while keeping them under the right ambient conditions. Controlling the cold chain management is crucial in the healthcare industry as it is the most sensitive link in the supply chain. Ambient conditions such as temperature and humidity values must be maintained during transportation of medicine. The use of IoT technology for cold chain management provides greater control over the system thanks to real-time monitoring and detailed reporting.

Why is End-to-End, Real-Time, and Retrospective Cold Chain Management Important in the Healthcare Industry?

In the pharmaceutical industry, even the slightest change in environmental conditions can prove to be fatal for the consumers. Besides, it can lead to the expiry and disposal of medications, thus causing great financial losses or significant moral losses due to the inability to deliver the medications to those who need them. With IoT technologies, instant monitoring of the cold chain can be made, and alarms and information can be provided by instant detection under defined conditions. Thus, even the smallest quality problem can be prevented by taking instant action. In addition to instant follow-up, history reporting and analysis can be made.

Controlling Ambient Conditions in Pharmaceutical Production

Ideal temperature values are defined according to the types of vaccines and medications. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), bacterial vaccines should be stored between +2 and +8 degrees Celsius, and viral vaccines should be kept between -15 and -20 degrees Celsius. If stored over or under these values, the vaccines lose their effectiveness. For this reason, the facilitation and control of suitable conditions in the production environment are of utmost importance. With IoT technologies, the environment's ideal temperature and humidity value are defined in the production of pharmaceuticals. These values are monitored in real-time, and in case of exceeding the specified values, the system automatically notifies the predefined persons via SMS and e-mail.

Ensuring Temperature & Humidity Control in Pharmaceutical Logistics and Supply Points

According to UPS's data, 30% of the medications worldwide are damaged and become unusable during logistics and supply stages. These vaccines must be disposed of. However, studies show that if these vaccines are overlooked, the protection of the vaccinated people will decrease according to the disease, and revaccination will be required. For this reason, it is imperative to control the humidity and temperature of the environment with real-time data tracking in pharmaceutical logistics. With IoT technologies, in-vehicle temperature and humidity values can be monitored 24/7 during transportation. Instant changes in values can be notified to predefined people via SMS and e-mail. With these measures, waste of medications can be prevented, and public health can be protected.

Cold Chain Tracking of Covid-19 Vaccines

If the vaccines studied during the Covid-19 outbreak are approved, the logistics processes are of great importance in the procurement process of these vaccines worldwide. The necessity of transporting Pfizer / BionTech vaccine at -70 degrees Celsius and Moderna at -20 degrees Celsius emerged as a logistical problem. Besides these two vaccines, the protection of other vaccines named AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, and Sinovak must be carried out under refrigerator conditions.

The vaccine cold chain comes into play in delivering these vaccines to health centers and individuals. With end-to-end cold chain monitoring systems, it can be ensured that the appropriate conditions are provided by monitoring the temperature and humidity values at every moment. This includes the production environment, transportation process, warehouses, and the places where they are stored. If changes in the limits determined in the appropriate temperature values for the vaccines, it can be intervened instantly and the vaccines are both transported and stored under suitable conditions.

Instant control and data monitoring in cold chain management in the health industry are essential for human health and preventing material and moral losses. IoT technologies allow you to make instant and retrospective analysis by controlling the environment during the production phase of medications, their storage and transportation, and their stay in medicine cabinets. If you would like to get more detailed information on cold chain management, you can contact us.

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