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Environmental Monitoring and Control: NSW Health
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Westmead Hospital is located in the western metropolitan area of Sydney and is one of the largest hospitals in Australia. It hosts 3 different internal pharmacy departments as well as extensive emergency and intensive care facilities. These departments all have the need for environmental monitoring and control solutions.


Problem Identified

In 2015, ECEFast was asked to consider a temperature solution for pharmacy department fridges and freezers storing valuable and critical drugs for the entire hospital.

The existing system was the hospital Building Management System (BMS) which was fitted to provide important building system controls. This was later extended to monitor some high value pharmacy fridges. According to pharmacy management, the BMS system could not be relied upon to alert pharmacy staff quickly in the event of temperature breaches Access to important temperature information was problematic and it was expensive to connect all fridges as wiring had to be run to each fridge. Further, the capacity of the BMS system to connect a large network of fridges was limited. The pharmacy needed their own system which would provide direct access to important temperature data, provide reports and alert pharmacy staff directly when there was a problem with a fridge or freezer.


Solution Formulated

In August of 2015, ECEFast installed a Hanwell wireless temperature monitoring system in the Main Pharmacy and also the Cancer Care Pharmacy.

A cross section of fridges had Hanwell wireless transmitters installed. They were also fitted with a receiver in each pharmacy and an SMS unit was installed and connected back to a small computer, connected on the NSW Health network.


Solution Testing

After 16 months of continuous testing, many drug saves were made. The increased confidence in the reliability of the system, the functionality of the system and the technical support were such that Westmead were given approval for the trial system to transition to a full pharmacy temperature monitoring system.

ECEFast developed the system around the needs of Pharmacy departments and hospital nursing operations.

Project managed in conjunction with WSLHD ICT, the server for the new system was provided within NSW eHealth’s data centre serving NSW Health state-wide providing reliability and managed services for IT systems.


System Expansion

In late December 2016 over 60 transmitters and three receivers were fitted to all Pharmacy department fridges and freezers with system handover early January 2017.  Since installation, there has been very few losses of drugs saving considerable value and reducing lost drugs to a very low level.


With the pharmacy department reliably covered by the Hanwell system, extensions were soon made to cover all vaccine fridges in ED, Staff Health, Women’s Health Clinics, Maternity and Birthing wards.

Following the second stage of expansion, the remaining wards, departments and clinics joined the system. Earlier this year, the new 14-storey Clinical Acute Services Building was fitted out with Hanwell fridge monitoring equipment to expand the total Westmead site to in excess of 160 fridges and freezers monitored.


Final Outcome

As a hospital of significant physical size with drug and vaccine fridges distributed across many floors of many large buildings, Westmead has become the reference site for Hanwell systems installed in NSW public hospitals.

There is no larger hospital with so many fridges continuously monitored wirelessly. It took careful planning and required outstanding radio range capability for this large system to work. Now, running reliably for 4 years, Hanwell has gone on to be fitted in over 10 more Sydney public hospitals including the entirety of South Western Sydney Local Health District.


Read more about how ECEFast can tailor a solution for your environmental monitoring systems

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