Update from AABB 2011: Transport and Storage Coolers used in Blood Banks

November 2011

Hearing your shared experiences, perspectives and concerns

One of our primary goals at AABB in San Diego was to learn more about cooler validation procedures. Thank you to all who shared their experiences, perspectives and concerns! I wanted to take this VUEPOINT opportunity to share with you what we learned, and then tell you more about how William Labs is working to make cooler validation easier and more useful.

Learning about your challenges

The conversations about cooler validation were eye opening! We learned so much from blood bankers, medical technologists and other colleagues in the field. In particular, we heard about a variety of cooler validation protocols, the challenges and flaws in current procedures, and quite honestly, a lot of frustration.

The single most common theme, not surprisingly, was that of the time demands on blood bank staff and how the cooler validation procedure can be a real drain on them. Everyone understands the importance of cooler validation, but the time commitment was, across the board, the single biggest issue.

As an example, what seems to be a fairly typical validation technique of using a thermometer and timer is time consuming for a variety of reasons. Many told us that if they were interrupted by an unexpected urgent need, or distracted with other tasks, or simply forgot to accurately time the process, that they would have to restart the entire procedure. Then there was the issue of manually documenting the temperatures at the appropriate intervals, to create that needed permanent record.

What we’re doing to help

William Labs has developed a Cooler Validation Kit that is currently being used on a trial basis by several blood banks and hospitals around the U.S. We are grateful that we have an enthusiastic group of trial sites that we can rely on to give us credible feedback from different sizes and types of institutions with a wide range of cooler validation needs and challenges. We will use their experiences and observations to fine-tune our Validation Kit before formally introducing it in 2012.

In short, the Validation Kit automatically tracks time and temperature so that you can essentially set it up, start the validation procedure, and get back to work. Except for items that are common in all blood banks, the kit includes everything need for cooler validation, including electronic temperature recorders, calibrated temperature probes, simple instructions, plus validation documentation and labels that you can customize to your needs, along with some other “handy” items to simplify the process.

If you’d like to hear more about the trial and what we learn, or want to be on the announcement list for the Validation Kit release, please email us and let us know you are interested. We’ll be sure to keep you informed. If you weren’t able to visit us at AABB but would like to share your thoughts on cooler validation, we would appreciate hearing from you.

For now, I’d like to share with you our Transport and Storage Cooler Tips (PDF), with some helpful ideas and reference information regarding cooler validation procedures and documentation. You can also view this information as a web page (link).

Beth Sharpless, B.S.N.
Product Support Specialist

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