Hawke's Bay District Health Board IoT story

Keeping vaccines and medications at the right temperature is imperative – at Hawke’s Bay DHB, an innovative IoT monitoring solution has proved its value almost immediately.

Customer problem


Many medications, including covid vaccines, need to be stored in a specific temperature range to sustain their efficacy. A faulty fridge, or the door left ajar, can quickly cause a whole fridge-full of medication to be rendered unusable.

Solution


Temperature and humidity sensors monitor medication fridges, providing real-time information via a centralised dashboard and issuing alerts any time the temperature and/or humidity breaches the set threshold. 

Results


More medication available, money saved and fewer piles of paperwork. Plus, reduced manual monitoring has saved many hours of legwork.

Smart thinking at Hawke’s Bay DHB saves time and money

It’s vital to keep medications at the correct temperature so they stay safe and effective.

The traditional way of monitoring refrigerated medication involved a manual process, checking and logging the temperature of each fridge daily. Across an entire hospital, that’s a lot of hours – and it still doesn’t necessarily catch problems quickly enough. If a fridge door isn’t fully shut and it stays that way for several hours, all the medication in the fridge may be rendered unusable. That leads to several issues: not enough medication available for patients; expensive losses; and piles of paperwork.

But through collaboration, project teams from Spark IoT and Hawke’s Bay DHB devised a much smarter solution. It consists of temperature and humidity sensors (Netvox R718AB), connected to our LoRaWAN network (with 4G Backhaul). As the DHB’s concrete-dense buildings aren’t conducive to good network coverage, technical difficulties were overcome thanks to the installation of LoRaWAN indoor gateways.

This allows live temperature information to be sent directly from the sensors, via the gateways, for display onto the Spark IoT Bridge dashboard. IoT Bridge is a new Spark-built, cloud-hosted platform powered by Microsoft Azure. It can fold a variety of monitoring use cases into one central tool to provide easy and timely access to data needed for informed decision-making. Within IoT Bridge, DHB users can also configure devices, set alerts for key personnel to be notified if a threshold is breached, and run stakeholder reports quickly.

Rapidly scaled up after excellent results

Initially starting with a five-device trial, it has quickly scaled to over 80 devices. Real-time monitoring and automated alerts means the DHB can ensure its medications remain useful for as long as possible, and that staff members are making the best use of their time.

With monitored fridges, online dashboards show immediately if there is a problem. If a fridge door is left open, for instance, it will ping an alert as soon as the temperature breaches the set threshold. Within minutes, someone can pop in and shut the door. That’s already happened a few times, proving the system’s value almost immediately.

For example, a fridge sensor was installed in a critical vaccine fridge at a Napier vaccination site. As occasionally happens, one night staff accidentally left the door ajar and the temperature went up. Pharmacy staff received alerts via text and email, and immediately phoned the staff on site who quickly closed the door.   From start to finish, the outage was resolved in under 20 minutes and no vaccines were lost.

In another instance, the system picked up a fault in a single fridge. One of the aseptic compounding fridges, which are used for storing prepared cancer medications, wasn’t maintaining its low temperature. The fault was picked up late Friday evening and the medications were moved to another fridge within 10 minutes.  Without the new system, this error would have been missed for longer and led to stock loss which would have resulted in delayed cancer treatment for patients at the beginning of the following week.

Seeing the system in action means the whole team at Hawke’s Bay DHB now has confidence that medications are kept safely stored and fully tracked – particularly helpful right now for correctly storing the covid vaccine.

“The staff who went around downloading and checking data with the previous manual system are delighted with the change – this makes their job much easier and the results are much more timely and just as reliable,” says Ben Duffus, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships Lead for Hawkes Bay DHB, who worked with Spark on coming up with this solution. “An alert comes through to the teams quickly, and we can take action within a few minutes to rectify.”

Innovating together

From an initial trial of just five devices, the solution was quickly scaled up. Now, there are 80 monitored fridges at the hospital and a few extras in remote areas, all providing real-time feedback to staff, who access the information on a centralised dashboard. With the digital infrastructure now in place, the DHB can consider other options for asset tracking and environmental monitoring. And they’re able to keep fine-tuning the systems.

“We’re coming up with ways to predict a main fridge failure even earlier,” Duffus says. “It’s been really important to have a partnership with Spark IoT, because it means we can innovate together.”

Solutions

Temperature and Humidity Monitoring


Temperature and Humidity Monitoring allows you to quickly react to save stock, keep staff and customers happy and fix equipment in a timely manner.

Learn more

Netvox R718AB


Netvox R718AB is a wireless logger that monitors ambient temperature and humidity in a variety of conditions.

Learn more

Explore our additional resources

Customer stories


See how New Zealand businesses are thriving and gaining real value with Spark IoT.

Learn more

Webinars


We’ve saved you a seat for inspiring and thought provoking webinars. Hear insights from business leaders on how IoT is shaping New Zealand business.

Learn more

Insights


IoT technology is transforming a wide range of industries. 
Find out more about current trends, innovations and exciting developments in IoT.

Learn more

Why choose Spark?

Our partnerships


We've partnered with a range of best in class local and international expertise to ensure your business has the most suitable IoT solution.

Our service


We have dedicated experts ready to identify your business problems and opportunities, then plan and deploy the right IoT solution for your business needs.

One stop shop


Our complete range of IoT solutions include hardware, connectivity, data analytics and insights and after sales support. Everything you need in one place to get your business to the future, today.

Browse solutions

Together with our forward-thinking local and global partners, we can provide the right end-to-end IoT solutions to meet your business needs. Our IoT solutions could help you reduce costs, improve health and safety, save time on monitoring and reporting, or increase efficiency and return on investment.

See IoT solutions

Launch & Announcement


8th March

Applications open


15th March to 28th June

Finalists Announced


27th July

Judging Starts


26th August

Winners Announced


4th September

Funding and the 5G Co-Lab testing


September to October

Winners fly to New York


October