MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. — Technology has an ever more important role in pharmacy and the overall patient experience with the COVID-19 pandemic. One company providing products and services that are essential to frontline workers during these trying times is Temptime, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Zebra Technologies.
The company provides a wide range of temperature monitoring solutions from low-cost, chemically based products to sophisticated data-driven devices equipped with low-energy Bluetooth capabilities and cloud-based data storage.
“Zebra offers several solutions that are ideal for the pharmacy market to help manage inventory and monitor temperature-sensitive products to ensure they are stored and transported within the allowable temperature parameters,” says Chris Caulfield, vice president in the Temptime Operations division of Zebra Technologies.
He points out, for example, that Zebra HEATmarker time-temperature indicators are applied by the manufacturer of vaccines, biologics or biosimilars to monitor heat exposure over time. Some products may be stable at higher temperatures, and Zebra’s LIMITmarker threshold heat indicators can monitor immediate or delayed heat exposure from the point of packaging until ultimate use.
Caulfield notes that Zebra has also designed high-performing, cost-effective solutions to meet the needs of mail order and specialty pharmacy companies. “Zebra’s single-use TransTracker temperature indicators monitor heat, freeze or dual heat-freeze exposures of temperature-sensitive products from the time of packaging until patient receipt. Tens of millions of these devices have been seamlessly integrated into medication fulfillment operations and shipped via mail order or courier.”
He says that with COVID-19, specialty and mail order pharmacies are under considerable pressure to fill a larger number of scripts while patients adhere to social distancing guidelines. “These growing number of shipments are typically being routed by common courier or postal service providers whose resources are strained with the explosion of e-commerce. Pharmacies and their patients need to be assured that medications are arriving under the proper temperature conditions. By inserting TransTracker temperature indicators into shipments, pharmacies and their customers can easily identify the condition of the product and if any heat, freeze or dual heat-freeze exposures occurred during delivery.”
He adds that this technology is helping to change the landscape of pharmacy delivery services. “The simple, yet elegant, TransTracker temperature indicator is helping pharmacies operate more proficiently and the overall health care market more efficiently. It has helped increase patient confidence in mail order shipments and provided assurances that medication is still in optimal condition when it arrives.”
He says that the TransTracker indicator also provides visual cues when temperature limits have been exceeded during shipping and storage to ensure potentially temperature-damaged medications are not used. “This benefit alone goes a long way in ensuring pharmacists are delivering the highest-quality medications to their customers and reduces the need for reshipment of products that may have been subjected to uncertain temperatures during transportation or storage,” he concludes.