State health departments across the US are required to manage vaccine inventory levels, the storage conditions and a patient based vaccine directory. How do they insure that CDC guidance on storage and handling of vaccines is followed across a statewide network of independent doctors, clinics and hospitals? In 2012 the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) studied how this oversight was working and announced that poor temperature management at provider sites caused the loss of up to $900m in vaccines annually (1/3 the budget in 2010). In response the CDC established clear guidance in 2013 for the use of data loggers at provider sites to capture temperature data 24/7. Choosing the right data logger and using it to protect the vaccine became a new responsibility for each state health department.
In Tennessee, and many other states across the US, the Fridge-tag®2 & 2L has been chosen for the following reasons:
- Software is not used to start or operate the Fridge-tag®2. Nearly 30% of providers are forbidden to install because of workplace security. Using the Fridge-tag 2 insures all providers comply with the use of data loggers
- It can be installed in 1 minute following simple instructions. Online training videos are available at no cost
- The calibration certificate is valid for 2 – 3 years (depending upon the model) lowering operational costs
- Audible and visual alarms insure the providers are alerted if there is an alarm
- Reports are easy to retrieve and simple to understand
After a massive storm, power was lost in most of eastern Tennessee. Past storms effecting the same region had caused the loss and replacement of +$100,000 in vaccines. This year, with the Fridge-tag®2 in place, state health department staff received hundreds of data logger reports from sites throughout the region. All vaccines were saved because the data demonstrated that proper temperatures where maintained even in offices where power was lost for an unknown number of hours. The savings in that region cover the total cost for the data logger program across the entire state.