TempAlert Product Review
A few weeks ago we wrote about the importance of monitoring temperatures for infusion medications. I hate to propose problems without solutions so in this post we will be telling you about our experience with one of the best solutions we found to the temperature monitoring problem. In this post, we will review the TempAlert wireless monitoring system. I ran across the TempAlert system about 6 months ago while doing some research for our IV Insights Blog post on managing and monitoring medication inventories. I spoke to a representative at TempAlert who was kind enough to send us a demo system to test their wireless solution.
I made the point in my last inventory writing that “temperature and power monitoring systems that must rely on a local network and local power are likely to fail you when those things do.” What really attracted me to the TempAlert system was the “stand-alone” nature of the entire system. The TempAlert system we reviewed uses cellular technology and reduces the reliance on consistent and constant AC power. Because the TempAlert wireless monitoring system mainly relies on long-term (5 year+) battery power and cellular communication technology, the solution removes both the “local network and local power” concerns I highlighted earlier.
I received my TempAlert demo system in separate boxes. One thing you notice right from the start is that they color code system components so you easily know what parts of the system go together. Setup is so easy it will leave you wondering if you forgot to do something. My demo system included the following:
- 1 ZPoint Wireless/Cellular Gateway
- 2 ZPoint Nodes (the monitoring sensor)
- 2 ZPOINT Wireless Sensor Screen
(Above: TempAlert Node/Sensors and Sensor Screens come preconfigured and color coded to help keep everything together)
(Above: TempAlert Cellular Gateway – uses DC or USB power and has battery backup for up to 48hrs)
(Above: TempAlert Node/Sensor and Wireless screen. Both have 5-year batteries and are magnetic – shown here stuck to our office whiteboard for ambient temperature monitoring)
Here is exactly how I set the system up:
- I turned on the ZPoint Node by pushing the power button on the front of the device and placed it in our office refrigerator
- I turned on the matching ZPoint Sensor screen by pushing the power button on the front of the device and stuck it to the front of the office refrigerator. (Yes, it is magnetic) This system is great as it does not require modifying your refrigerator by running wires through the door or drilling any holes.
- I did the same process for my other ZPoint Node and Screen, but I placed these on my magnetic office whiteboard to monitor ambient temperature (Yes, the Node Sensor is magnetic too)
- I plugged in the ZPoint Cellular Gateway using the included USB power cord.
That is all you have to do and the system will self-configure itself. It literally took me longer to open the packages than it did to set up the entire system in our office. Each Sensor and Screen has a 5-year battery life according to TempAlert so you won’t have to worry about power issues for a long time. According to TempAlert, there are available additional NIST calibrated sensors you can attach to the Node, but we did not test those in our demo setup.
(Above: TempAlert Node Sensor keeping a close eye on our chilled TopChico temperature in our office fridge)
(Above: TempAlert Wireless Screen – the remote magnetic screen is great and does not require you to run any wires into your refrigerator )
TempAlert sends you all the devices and gateway pre-configured. In addition, you get an email with your login information that takes you to your dashboard showing all your sensors and gateway information. Once I logged in, I could immediately see all the sensors and my gateway reporting into TempAlert. All that was left for me to do was name the sensors so I knew which one was monitoring each location. In my case, “Refrigerator” and “Ambient” were my two identifiers. Each node and gateway has a QR code you can scan with your smartphone app to bring up the specific sensor you are wanting to identify to make the setup process even easier.
The TempAlert dashboard is very intuitive and allows you to set up your sensor locations so you can view all your remote locations in a Google Map view. The website also allows you to configure those all-important alert values so you will get Text and/or Email alerts if any of your sensors detect values out of your preset range or if any part of the system stops reporting in. The reporting/device screen also monitors the battery life status of all your sensors so you won’t be caught off-guard when it is time to change the batteries on your sensors 5 years from now. One of the best parts of the TempAlert site is that it poles your devices at frequent intervals of your choosing. This means that you can print off reports about the temperature readings of your devices as often as every 5 minutes, eliminating the need to keep a paper record of your temperature log and eliminating the manual task of having a team member log the temps each day.
(Above: TempAlert Device view on the website – you can see in the graph where we adjusted the temp on our fridge or moved the sensor closer/away from the freezer section)
(Above: TempAlert Device Map View on the website – gives the user a visual status of their devices and their geographic location)
TempAlert does have a native mobile app that can be downloaded from the App store on Iphone’s. I did not test or try anything out with Android phones or devices in this review. I found the app helpful even though it is a very simple app. I look forward to seeing an updated App that might integrate the QR scanning and other helpful features in the future, but it gets the job done quite nicely and give users the peace of mind when they want to check in on things away from the laptop or desktop device.
(Above: TempAlert iPhone app – all sensors and history can be viewed easily on the app from anywhere)
TempAlert has created a true “set-it and forget-it” monitoring system that I mostly forgot about during our 3+month trial. My first experience with an alert was an overnight power outage at our office during a recent summer storm in Austin, TX. I received a text alert that my office fridge temperature was higher than the range I specified for my alerts. This was a critical issue for my team as we like our Topo Chico chilled to a specific 41F. 🙂 Of course, we don’t keep expensive infusion medications at our WeInfuse office, but it is nice to know if we did we would always know their condition. The second alert I received came from our Ambient air sensor when the office Air Conditioning went out over another weekend and the inside temp went above 80F.
Overall, I can not figure out where you could go wrong with the TempAlert setup. It is the most foolproof system I have ever had a chance to work with and it takes absolutely no technical, network, or computer experience to set up. If you can push a button, you can set up this monitoring system. TempAlert has my personal stamp of approval for a monitoring system that can be installed and scaled rapidly with very little ongoing effort to maintain.
WeInfuse is working with TempAlert to integrate the monitoring information from the sensor cloud within our WeInfuse inventory management dashboard so our users can review and report on their critical medication inventory right within our application. Stay up to date on our progress here in the WeInfuse IV Insights Blog.
Contact TempAlert for more information:
WeInfuse nor the article author received any compensation for this review.