NFC-enabled isothermal box for transporting cytotoxic drugs.
A Blulog NFC logger and smartphone.

Aimed at killing cancer cells, cytotoxic drug medications used by the Independent Clinical Hospital in Wrocław, Poland must remain within a specific temperature range between the laboratory and transport within the care facility. Storage conditions are crucial to successfully transporting drugs or biological material, where even minor temperature variations can cause substances to deteriorate.

To maintain appropriate temperatures of patient medications, Wrocław’s Independent Clinical Public Hospital in Poland selected boxes with integrated temperature traceability. The units contain Near Field Communication data loggers to monitor cytotoxic drugs, which are effective at 2°C to 8°C. These NFC temperature data loggers are credit-card sized, autonomous and affordable, delivering a 0.2°C precision between 0°C and 30°C and 0.4°C on the rest of the range -30°C to +70°C.

The hospital works closely with one of laboratories of cytotoxic drugs that provide the medications. It uses NFC-connected boxes to avoid any misunderstandings and mistakes related to the right conditions during transport of the drugs form the lab to the hospital. This enables the lab to be transparent and assures the hospital's medical staff that the drugs are ready to be used and that the temperature was not breached. "

Blulog, a French-Polish firm based in Poznan, Poland, provides data loggers for isothermal boxes made by Georg UTZ, a developer of reusable plastic products such as containers, pallets and trays.

Medical staff at the hospital place substances to be transported inside the containers and then keep track of temperatures via an NFC reader placed on the box’s side. The products are delivered in about 30 minutes by a medical vehicle.

“Cytotoxic drugs are highly susceptible to atmospheric conditions and require specific packaging,” says Jeremy Laurens, Blulog’s Sales and Marketing Director. “During the whole transportation process, the drug should be kept within the temperature range of 2°C to 8°C, outside of which the substance becomes ineffective.”

The hospital can access the data in three ways: using an NFC reader or NFC-enabled smartphone, via the Bluconsole web application, or via email, where all information is securely stored.

The Independent Clinical Hospital currently owns 20 NFC-labeled isothermal boxes equipped with the NFC data logger for transporting the cytotoxic drugs.

When the package arrives at the hospital, it is verified by the medical staff. A colored diode on the data logger indicates any temperature excursions: red indicates that the transport’s parameters should be verified. The system is secure and encrypted, ensuring no potential data manipulation.

“In this particular case, we chose the Android NFC readers, made by Famoco,” says Professor Kazimierz, Head of the Department of Haematology, Haematological Malignancies and Bone Marrow Transplantation Department at the Wroclaw institution.

He adds, “The most important factor here is simplicity of use. All we have to do is place the reader next to the box for a few seconds to read the data. Another factor that was taken into consideration here was the Wi-Fi access in the buildings to and from which the packages are sent and received. The reading of the temperature data is also trouble-free: we can do it using any smartphone equipped with active 4G and NFC technology."