When installing continuous temperature monitoring systems for food and medication safety initiatives, device placement should be at the very top of your list of considerations. This decision requires careful thought, and in-field testing and proofs of concept can definitely benefit the process. Here’s why:
A microclimate occurs when there are differences between climates in and surrounding a particular environment. Refrigerators and freezers of all shapes and sizes exhibit microclimates. It’s not unusual to see temperature differences across locations within a refrigerator or freezer — and it isn’t uncommon to see variances of a few degrees or more at any time within a single fridge.
When monitoring temperature for medications, the CDC recommends placing your continuous monitoring device in the middle of the center shelf within a cooler. This spot is frequently the most stable temperature location within a unit, and TempAlert recommends this location whenever possible.
When locating your continuous temperature monitoring devices, product placement is another significant factor. We recommend avoiding high-traffic areas, where medication bins can be forcefully placed into refrigerators and cause damage to your temperature monitoring devices. Attaching your device to the underside of a shelf conserves valuable storage space, and often places the device out of the way of medication and food products, so it cannot be damaged. Opting for a wire-free solution will help ensure an easy installation process and keep your temperature monitoring device out of the way of day-to-day activities — and functioning optimally.
Temperature monitoring devices gather the most accurate data when airflow within the refrigeration unit is uninhibited by products or other items. Look for open areas within the unit to capture the best average temperature within the unit.
Here’s one final consideration to keep in mind: When deploying across a large enterprise, you may be installing 50,000 or more sensors to ensure medications and food are properly monitored. By carefully studying the environment and standardizing device placement, you will greatly lower the costs of supportability and service during the lifetime of a program. Standardized placement will help you quickly support and troubleshoot a device, especially if it is located in a large walk-in refrigeration unit and can be found quickly.
With the right planning and field testing, proper device placement can be a key part of making your enterprise temperature monitoring program a great success.