Storage: better temperature control

 

 

As soon as they have been collected, blood, plasma and platelets have to be stored in the right conditions in order to preserve their quality. We implemented a number of innovations in 2012 with a view to improving temperature control.

Roll-out of temperature-controlled containers

After an extensive testing phase, we began using temperature-controlled containers at all our blood transfusion centers in mid-2012. These robust, wheeled containers were specially designed by the Blood Service  – in collaboration with VEBA MediTem –  to meet the strict requirements governing the storage and transportation of blood products. Temperature-controlled containers offer a number of advantages:

  • Stable temperature: external temperature fluctuations do not affect the blood bags in the container. With the cooling plates we used in the past, the temperature of blood products could sometimes dip too low during the winter months.
  • Greater storage volume: a temperature-controlled container can hold up to 120 full blood bags. 
  • Simpler transportation: temperature-controlled containers are easy to load onto the trucks used at mobile blood collections.  The platform scales on which the blood bags rest in the containers are much lighter and therefore easier to carry.

The next step is to develop smaller temperature-controlled containers for our permanent donor centers, in which 48 blood bags can be stored. These are due to be approved and enter service in 2013.

Cold Chain Monitoring System (CMS)

The temperature of blood products must not exceed certain limits. The central monitoring system (CMS) which the Blood Service used for many years to monitor the cold chain had a number of drawbacks. After in-depth research, we opted for a new system in 2012. The Traceview monitoring system is extremely user-friendly:

  • It is network-operated. This means that it can be consulted anywhere, any time. In the event of a network outage, the system stores the readings locally until the server is back in action. 
  • The CMS automatically identifies the location and device where the temperature has exceeded either the maximum or minimum threshold.

For monitoring of the CMS alarm function, the Blood Service works with Humanitarian Services’  Dispatching Department. Dispatching forwards any alarms to the relevant persons for follow-up.

Related items:

Collection: quick and easy

Umbilical cord blood: processing and allocation examined