Ever buy a new gadget or power tool?  Only to find, a year later, that the new tool needs to have some serious work done on it. Case in point, I bought a brand-new power washer on Black Friday 2016.  Once spring came, I was excited to power wash the deck, siding, and sidewalk. Everything looked sparkly clean.  By November 2017, the newness had worn off and it was just another tool relegated to its spot in the garage until needed.

I live in Michigan and get lots of freezing cold weather. Unfortunately, I failed to properly maintain the power washer and never drained the water out of it. The other day, when we got a warm streak, I found a puddle of water underneath it and the bottom split open. I can fix it but if I had simply drained the water and winterized it, it would have been a five-minute job. Instead I will invest hours; looking for parts, tearing it apart, and installing new parts. 

Systems in the hospital can be the same because if they do not have a champion that stays on top of the systems to insure that everything is operational, a system can break down and become time consuming and expensive.

Several years ago, I was contacted to help a facility get back on track with their automated temperature monitoring systems. A system that was very important to their bottom line to make sure that vaccines, blood, bone, tissue and even food in the commissary were being stored at optimal temperatures to maintain quality, and meet all the regulatory requirements.  The facility even purchased NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) certified tags for the Blood and Tissue bank freezers. The system was working well, until their System Champion retired.


At launch, I understood that their implementation was successful. Everyone was excited, and the system was doing its job monitoring critical temperature controlled assets. It was also notifying all the appropriate staff of any deviations in  temperatures thru reports and escalating instant notifications.  The Biomed Manager, System Champion, was instrumental in getting the system installed, maintaining tags, batteries and tracking NIST certificates.

Then the Biomed Manager retired, and the new manager was not familiar with the advantages of the temperature monitoring system, nor the requirements to maintain it.  Not having a champion resulted in:

  • The reports for low battery tags were being sent to incorrect people
  • NIST certifications expired
  • Tag batteries were depleted
  • New refrigerators and freezers were deployed without tags
    • The newest bone freezer never got a tag installed and staff assumed it was part of the automated system for temperature monitoring, so never checked the temperature
    • One weekend, the new bone freezer stopped working due to an electrical issue. Nobody knew until Monday when a staff member happened to notice that the indicator light was not lit. By this time the freezer was too warm and the bone tissue was no longer useable and declared a total loss.

This is when IMS got the call to help. Fortunately, IMS was capable to fix their system, find the tags that were no longer transmitting, and replace batteries. We could also audit all the notifications to make sure they were being sent to the proper staff.  Situations like these can be avoided, with some forethought, planning, and having champions trained on how your system works.

  • Does your facility have multiple champions for your various systems?
  • Who takes responsibility for the various systems and making sure they are maintained?
  • Who takes the lead to make sure that new equipment is properly installed within the parameters of the system?

Having a group trained on the various components on the system lessens the chance of a system becoming orphaned. An orphaned system is the most expensive system in the hospital because it is not being fully utilized. If you find your facility missing a champion or two, contact IMS.  We help train System Champions.