3,000 Patients Need Revaccination: RTLS temperature monitoring could have helped avoid this, as officials say some vaccines were not stored at the proper temperatures and may not be effective.This news story titled 3,000 Sutter Patients Need Revaccination just came across my desk. As if getting one vaccine isn’t bad enough, how about being told you have to come back to get vaccinated again? It’s just a bad deal all the way around – bad for the patients who may not have full protection from a serious communicable disease; and bad for the healthcare facility whose name is all over the press with headlines screaming Vaccination Mistake and School Children Experience Déjà vu - Need Revaccination!
The problem is that these vaccines may not have been stored at the right temperature per CDC Recommendations and therefore can lose their effectiveness. Vaccinations for serious diseases were in question, including Polio, Hepatitis, Whooping Cough and H1N1.
Unfortunately, the facility doesn’t know if the medication refrigerator was actually out of compliance or malfunctioned, or someone simply didn’t log the temperature correctly. To be safe, 3,000 patients were called back for their shots – at no charge to them, but certainly at a cost (financial, patient safety and public perception) to the healthcare facility.
Healthcare facilities routinely use manual logging to check the temperature of hundreds of refrigerators, freezers and warmers throughout the day. That is, someone must actually walk around the facility to each temperature sensitive asset, verify it’s at the correct temperature, and confirm their action via a manual written log. Here’s a great primer from the Immunization Action Coalition, with technical content reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (June 2008) entitled Don’t Be Guilty of These Errors in Vaccine Storage and Handling.
As is evident by this story, the need to be diligent with temperature monitoring in healthcare is critical.
temperature monitoring tags as part of our solution suite for some time.
Have you considered RTLS and temperature monitoring at your facility? Maybe it’s time given patient care implications and the very public way in which these stories are shared.