GHP October 2015

ghp October 2015 | 31 All the various probes within microbiology transmit back to what’s called a BasePlus unit with a visual display that highlights which piece of equipment is out of its parameters, so staff can actively visit that unit and rectify the problem. Quite often that’s something as simple as somebody not quite closing the door, “but a worst-case scenario is that there’s a technical problem. And then armed with that information the software is such that we can record what that problem is and what we’ve done about it, so we have a full auditable trail of the temperature on that piece of equipment,” explains Mr Walker. “The software itself provides us with a graphical display of each unit probe showing the history going back over a pre-defined period. We archive the database periodically so it doesn’t get too big and we benefit from having all those records going back over a number of years.” The Pathology Department rates the IceSpy system’s installation as a success. “We started with modest goals,” says Mr Walker,” to save the man hours we were wasting monitoring the equipment and to start collecting some electronic auditable data which we could go back to if we needed to. But the system has conferred additional advantages. For example, we’ve set IceSpy to perform automatic hourly temperature recording in place of a single daily manual record but if we were, say, in a pharmacy and we wanted more data we could select more frequent testing, such as every ten minutes. That’s our choice. The system also has the advantage of ‘out-of-hours’ alarms. Although all our pathology departments run a 24 hours a day service, we can set the system up to send SMS text or email alarms if we ever need to.” The wireless IceSpy system was originally purchased across some four clinical microbiology units and Queen Alexandra Hospital was an early pioneer of the technology. “To anyone not using wireless monitoring, alarms and data recording yet I’d say the obvious pluses are that it’s easy to set up the probes and the software is intuitive,” advises Mr Walker. “It frees up all the time we used to waste checking manually. And the alerts mean we reduce the chances of damage or loss of the stored items, so temperature sensitive reagents or clinical samples will have maintained their integrity, so we cut wastage. “Let’s not forget that as well as ensuring all our equipment is working within its correct parameters, a big benefit of the IceSpy technology is to provide an audit trail,” adds Mr Walker. “That helps us meet our accreditation standards. Over the years this has been Clinical Pathology Accreditation (CPA) but that’s now changing to United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to ISO15189. And if the visiting inspectors were to ask us ‘How did you know that piece of equip- ment was working on any particular date?’ or ‘What temperature was it at a certain time?’ we can simply say ‘Here’s all the data!’” IceSpy offers multi-parameter solutions across many varied applications, so the Pathology Team still has ideas on their ‘wish list’: “The system is extendable and has other capabilities we don’t use at present. It can record humidity, it can record gases. When I have the budget I’d like it to monitor CO2 concentration in our incubators. That’s something I’d look at in the future,” concludes Mr Walker. research & development