industry news SME profile Tuesday 07 Dec 2021 @ 10:38 Safeguarding COVID19 Vaccines


A pioneering remote monitoring system is safeguarding vital supplies of COVID-19 vaccines in Liverpool.

The system allows healthcare professionals to continuously monitor vaccines stored in a fridge and receive alerts should the temperature move out of a defined range.

Wireless sensors send data securely to servers and the information is relayed to the user’s dashboard.

The system, developed by Cumbria tech specialists Invisible Systems, was installed for Aintree Primary Care Network (PCN) which comprises four GP practices serving 38,000 residents in north Liverpool.

The PCN was in the first wave of the vaccine programme rollout and because the vaccine was originally stored at Aintree community centre – a non-NHS site – it had to give extra assurances about storage conditions.

PCN Manager Sharon Poll explained she discovered the system when a colleague showed her the Innovation Agency Exchange, an online forum for colleagues in the health and care system to share innovative solutions to their challenges.

The forum is operated by the Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast, an NHS organisation that promotes the adoption of healthcare innovations.

Sharon said: “Maintaining the correct cold chain – a network of temperature-controlled environments – is critical to the integrity and effectiveness of all vaccines. The system has given us great peace of mind. We’re required to maintain the stability of the vaccine from the moment it arrives with us until the moment it goes into someone’s arm.

“We wanted to limit the risk of something going wrong and the risk of wastage, as much as possible. We were manually recording temperatures twice daily, though the gold standard is to monitor temperatures continually.

“The fridge we use for the COVID vaccine hasn’t failed, but if it did it would send an instant alert to a mobile phone and an email.

“We now have the system set up for our non-COVID fridges and whenever those have moved out of their temperature ranges we have been alerted immediately and have been able put it right very quickly.

“It’s a really simple system to set up and it’s given us the assurance that none of the vaccines will be wasted. It is an integral part of our business continuity plan.”

Una Harding, PCN pharmacist based at Aintree Park group practice, said: “It can make a call or send a text out of hours and at weekends to key-holders, which is an amazingly good use of technology and hugely welcome.

“This system monitors all our fridges and frees up time and reduces errors where fridge resets have not been done correctly.”

The ‘internet of things’ (IoT) system features a small box with an antenna fitted to the outside of a fridge that links to a sensor inside.

Invisible Systems have been developing IoT technology for 19 years and help organisations save money, ensure compliance and become more efficient.

Pete Thompson, CEO and founder of Invisible Systems, said: “We wanted to have a place on the Innovation Agency Exchange because we knew it was an effective way of reaching organisations with healthcare challenges.

“We were only too happy to help Aintree PCN and we’re thrilled that they’re pleased with the results, especially given the importance of the work.”

Laura Boland, Innovation Insight Manager at the Innovation Agency, manages and curates the Innovation Agency Exchange. She said: “This is exactly what the Exchange is designed to do – it bridges the gap between innovators in the commercial sector and the health and care system.

“I’m really pleased it’s worked so well when the system was under extreme pressure.”

Want to find out more?: Visit Invisible Systems’ Profile on WiredGov to find out more about their services to the UK Public Service Industry. 

The State of Cybersecurity in 2023