Cooler Validation Survey Results – March 2012

March 2012

The Cooler Validation Survey conducted in late January drew participation from over 70 blood banking professionals. You and your peers were generous and forthcoming with your ideas, concerns and procedures. For that, we are genuinely grateful.

Although we didn’t ask the specific question, it appears from the survey responses that we had participation from a wide range of facilities. That said, the single strongest “take away” message from the survey is that there is significant variation in validation procedures, including the equipment used as “transport coolers,” as well as the assorted devices/items used to perform validation. The validation protocols themselves appear to be unique to each organization, with an expressed need for clear guidance and more commonality.

Here is a “Quick Look” at the survey results. The actual survey response data is presented further down in this post. Note: Because we did not design the survey with statistical controls, it’s not a strict scientific study, but it has certainly proved to be both fascinating and insightful!

Quick Look: Cooler Validation Survey Results

  • 88% validate with 1-2 units (minimum number), but the maximum number varies greatly.
  • A majority use an Igloo®-style cooler of variable sizes.
  • Frozen cold packs are the most common packing choice.
  • Thermometers are twice as common as temperature recorders for measuring temperature.
  • A majority place the probe/thermometer between the bags, not in the bags.
  • A resounding 91% use cooler validation protocols/procedures from their hospital/blood bank.
  • Many respondents expressed frustration, concern and bewilderment at the time-consuming procedure, as well as at the lack of validation standards.

In our quest to simplify and demystify cooler validation, this survey has been enlightening and highly valuable. We are making significant progress on Validation Kit development, and the information that you provided in this survey has been crucial to developing a product offering, inclusive of suggested procedures and equipment, that can help alleviate some of the frustrations and concerns we learned about via the survey.

As always, we thank our survey participants for partnering with us to ensure that we help “deliver the best” – in our common challenge to ensure safe blood product management.

Ed Sharpless
Vice President Product Development

Cooler Validation Survey Results

This report summarizes the responses to the survey conducted by William Labs in late January 2012. The survey was designed to provide a “snapshot” of practices and to highlight important issues. It was not structured to be statistically representative. Seventy-one people participated in the survey, however, not all people answered all questions. Because we did not design the survey with statistical controls, it’s not a strict scientific study, but it has certainly proved to be both fascinating and insightful!

If you would like a PDF of this report, please email us.

1. How many coolers does your facility validate each year?
Percentage*
4 or less per year
50%
5-11 per year
25%
12 – 50 per year
25%
Total
100%

*Percentages are approximate

2. How many bags do you use in your cooler validation procedure?
1 2 3 4 5 6
Minimum number of bags used
28* 28 1 5 0 2
44%* 44% 2% 8% 0% 3%
Maximum number of bags used
4 14 0 20 2 26
6% 21% 0% 30% 3% 39%

*Top number is the count of respondents selecting the option.
** Bottom % is percent of the total respondents selecting the option.


Frequent Comments & Generalizations:

Eighty-eight percent (88)% validate with 1 or 2 units.
Many never issue more than 2 units at a time, have policies that limit to 2 units.

3. What type of transport container do you use?
Total Responses Response Ratio
Small Igloo-style cooler
30
44.7%
Large Igloo-style cooler
35
52.2%
Small specialized container
9
13.4%
Large specialized container
9
13.4%
Other
25
37.3%

Frequent Comments & Generalizations:
ThermoSafe® was most often mentioned for specialized container or “Other”
A variety of shipping/Styrofoam™/insulated boxes were reported as “Other”

4. What do you pack the container with for cooling? (check all that apply)?
Number of Response(s) Response Ratio
Frozen cold packs
42
62.6%
Chilled cold pack
26
38.8%
Wet ice
22
32.8%
Other
12
17.9%
Total
67
100%

 

5. What do you use to measure temperature? (check all that apply)? Number of Response(s) Response Ratio
Thermometer
40
60.6%
Electronic temperature recorder
19
28.7%
Other*
22
33.3%
Total
66
100%

Frequent Comments & Generalizations:
Among responses of “Other”, six (6) use HemoTemp® and four (4) use Safe-T-Vue® to monitor temperature during validation
or concurrent with temperature measurement
. Four (4) use infrared thermometers to measure temperature.

6. Where do you place the temperature probes/thermometers? (check all that apply)?
Number of Response(s) Response Ratio
Inserted into the bag fluid
12
17.9%
Placed between the bags
47
70.1%
Other
16
23.8%
Total
67
100%
7. What Validation Protocol do you use? (check all that apply)? Number of Response(s) Response Ratio
Procedure from my hospital/blood bank
61
91.0%
Procedure from cooler/container manufacturer
6
8.9%
Other
5
7.4%
Total
67
100%

8. Please feel free to share any ideas or suggestions relative to the topic of cooler validation.
Frequent Comments & Generalizations:

“Wish there was an easier way….”
“Tough!”
“Process is primitive…”
“Too time consuming…”
“Help needed!”
“Concerned….”
“Challenging…”
“Searching…”
“Standardized process/kit would be an improvement…”
“Would be nice to have an AABB-approved procedure…”

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions.
Ed Sharpless, VP Product Development
eds@williamlabs.com
1-800-767-7643

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