Healthcare Refrigerators & Freezers
Cold storage units play a pivotal role in the testing, distribution, and application of temperature-sensitive materials. These include pharmaceuticals, biological samples, medication, and vaccines.
In the wake of an unprecedented global pandemic, healthcare facilities anticipate the evolving need for purpose-built refrigerators and freezers. Numerous states are already scrambling to secure viable and efficient storage solutions for life-saving coronavirus vaccines. While this article tells you all you need to know about the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 offerings, we’ll take a closer look at medical-grade cold storage units and:
- what they do
- why they’re essential
- their various benefits
What Are Healthcare Refrigerators and Freezers?
If you’re considering medical facility freezer units, laboratory refrigerator options, or anything in between, it’s imperative to know what the equipment does to understand its benefits.
Hospitals, drug stores, clinics, labs, and other healthcare facilities are responsible for organizing and storing pharmaceuticals and biological materials. These agents are often sensitive to environmental factors and have their own set of storage requirements.
Generally, purpose-built cold units secure such materials thanks to features like:
- finely-calibrated digital sensors, including thermistors, thermocouples, and resistance-temperature detectors
- external Temperature Monitoring Devices (TMD) that allow for tracking without opening the unit and jeopardizing the interior temperature
- audible alarm systems to notify staff of any temperature fluctuations
- effective temperature recovery systems in the event of out-of-range readings
- built-in digital data loggers (DDLs) that record temperature information accurately at pre-set levels
- compressors that reach and regulate target temperatures quickly and efficiently
- proper insulation and temperature maintenance thanks to airlocked doors
- air-circulation systems and internal shelving that negate temperature variances
- digital locks to prevent unauthorized access
- backup battery packs to preclude temperature excursions
Why Are They Essential?
Cold units must comply with the Center for Disease Control guidelines to prevent damage, loss, or contamination of supplies. These include specifications for storage, temperature, power supply, maintenance, and inventory management.
Healthcare or pharmaceutical-grade refrigerators and freezers offer flexible solutions to the nuanced obstacles that industry professionals face. Without reliable cold storage, medical facilities could experience:
- the loss of valuable samples and vaccines
- severe financial consequences
- reduced productivity
- decreased trust from patients
Three Benefits of Medical-Grade Refrigerators and Freezers
As you can see, medical-grade cold units come with a range of features designed to protect materials such as vaccines, drugs, and biological samples. Unlike their household counterparts, they provide numerous benefits. Here are three of the most notable ones:
Consistent and Reliable Cold Chain
Healthcare supply chains are already highly fragmented and complex. They involve exports, imports, batch manufacturing, and large-scale production. Temperature-controlled storage units and distribution methods are crucial to protect blood transfusions, DNA samples, pharmaceuticals, and vaccines.
Overexposure to light, heat, or cold can destroy biological materials, reduce drugs’ potency, and even render them ineffective. These issues cost the industry millions of dollars every year. They can also significantly impact the administration of essential vaccines and the fight against preventable diseases.
Medical-grade refrigerators and freezers ensure that the cold chain isn’t disrupted, thanks to their precise temperature controls and monitoring abilities. They also extend the shelf life of microorganisms and pharmaceuticals.
Protection Against Power Failures
A power failure can destroy your entire vaccine or drug supply – even if you’re employing proper temperature monitoring and control. While it’s best to have a backup generator for such an event, it’s also wise to have another contingency plan in place.
Many pharmaceutical-grade cold storage units come with a battery pack to protect valuable supplies without the need to transport them during a power outage. That said, an extra battery system and regular maintenance are advised.
Enhanced Inventory Management
Naturally, highly-sensitive materials must be sorted, labeled, and stored clearly. They also need to be easily accessible to minimize the time a unit door stays open.
Medical-grade refrigerators and freezers have unique shelves that provide better airflow to maintain temperature control. However, they’re also designed for swift retrieval of supplies. Plus, digital data loggers promote efficient inventory management.
The Bottom Line
Healthcare cold units come with a range of unique features and benefits. They maintain the cold chain, protect against power failures, and enhance inventory management. They’re essential to secure temperature-sensitive materials and are, therefore, crucial to any medical facility.