Most blood banks revalidate their transport coolers annually. And although it is only once a year, there never seems to be a good time or resource-efficient way to do it.

Using multiple data loggers allows more accurate temperature mapping of the cooler interior.

The three key factors we hear repeated most often are:
1. Time Efficiency (technician’s time)
2. Data Accuracy
3. Simplifying Documentation

At the SCABB/CBBS meeting last month, we entertained compelling discussions with blood bankers who have switched from manual cooler validations with thermometers, to using data loggers (electronic temperature recorders). Some of them are using the Val-A-SureTM Cooler Validation Kit.

If you’ve ever considered switching to an automated validation process, we thought it might be helpful to share what we’ve learned from blood bankers across the country. In the following table (next page) we compare the traditional “manual” thermometer method to the “automated” data logger method – and capture how it has changed their validation experiences.

Key ConsiderationsAutomated with Data LoggersManual with ThermometersComments
Set up for validation15 minutes to set up and start15 minutes to set up and start 
Temperature checked by technician every 30 min. (documented, etc.)0 minutes5 minutes each time x 17 = 85 minutesManual validation pulls technician away from other duties in the blood bank
Data accuracyElectronic temperature recording every 5 minutes. No human error possible.Human error: both reading and documenting data. 
Start time for validationValidation can be started at any time. Once started, technician isn't required to be present for the entire validation.Technician must be present to check temperatures every 30 minutes, for entire validation period. 
Location for data captureMultiple (typically top and bottom of booler) areas to capture data, without moving blood products. Provides complete mapping of cooler interior temp.One available location for measuring tempterature, typically on top of the topmost blood product.Manual validation does not allow for temperature mapping of entire cooler.
Documentation AccuracyComputer generated report with detailed time/temperature data provided for validation. Print and include validation files.Manually recorded time and temperature readings.Opportunity for human error in reading and recording time and temperature.
Download data15 minutes for data download from data loggers and to print dataEither type or transcribe the time/temperature data generated during validation.Extra step to manually create validation documenation.
Direct Costs for 4-50 cooler validations per year.From $150-$1000 including reusable software, hardware, ASTM certifications for hardware.$50-$100 manual thermometer, plus the opportunity cost of the technician being unable to perform other vulnerable tasks. 
In-Direct Costs for 4-50 coolers per year.30 minutes per cooler to place data loggers and download data at the end of the validation.Up to 2 hours per cooler for an 8-hour validation. See above for computation. 


This graph displays temperature of the top bag vs. the bottom bag. The data is downloaded from data loggers and printed for permanent validation documentation, eliminating handwritten and transcribed data.

We’ll be giving away a Val-A-Sure Cooler Validation Kit at AABB 2015, so if you’re interested in a “free” chance to change your cooler validation method, be sure to stop by and see us!

P.S. For more on Transport and Storage Coolers, check out our Tips, Helpful Ideas and AABB Standards References