Tech to help vaccines keep their cool

Susan Krause, Kerry Shine, Hon Leeanne Enoch, 1300 Web Pro’s Tristan Lostroh and Brendan McDonald.

A Toowoomba company has received Queensland Government funding to pilot an electronics package that helps keep vaccines safely refrigerated

Digital technology company 1300 Web Pro is looking for pharmacies and other stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector who are keen to trial the FridgeBrain VX Vaccine Smart Fridge.

The company’s director, Brendan McDonald, told the AJP that the technology gathers together different aspects of safe cold storage and incorporates them into one application.

FridgeBrain helps pharmacies and GPs monitor their fridges in real time, allowing them to make early decisions about what to do during power outages or if a door is unexpectedly open, rather than relying on temperature gauges which can delay addressing problems.

The technology automatically records data from multiple sensors to keep an eye on a vaccine refrigerator and its contents, and provides real time alerts via SMS, email or phone call.

“Most systems are based on temperature reporting, not the door being open or the power being off,” Mr McDonald explained.

“So they report the temperature when it gets to eight degrees – but if you’re away from your pharmacy, by the time you get there some vaccines are already out of range. So it’s just letting you know that you’ve lost a stack of stuff.

“But when you’re told when the power goes out, the temperature’s still three or four degrees – so you might have an hour up your sleeve before anything critical happens.”

This gives pharmacists, doctors’ surgeries and hospitals time to contact power suppliers, while monitoring the temperature, to find out when power may be restored – and “so you can make a decision as to whether you get out of bed and go fix your fridge up, or start putting vaccines in the esky”.

FridgeBrain is also intended to smooth the reporting process, eliminating the need for manual downloading of data loggers.

1300 Web Pro will receive $100,000 from the Palaszczuk Government’s Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Fund to help boost its business innovation and fund the pilot scheme.

The pilot will see 12 pharmacies and medical centres around the country trial the FridgeBrain technology.

“There are over 9600 GP clinics and 4000 pharmacies in Australia that could benefit from FridgeBrain technology – they have a market-ready idea that will position them as leaders in commercial refrigerators that monitor perishable contents,” said Labor candidate for Toowoomba South Susan Krause, who visited 1300 Web Pro to make the funding announcement.

Mr McDonald says he hopes that ultimately, the technology will be embraced at the banner or owner group level, as well as internationally.

FridgeBrain is a joint venture with Toowoomba-based Huxford Refrigeration.

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