Picture of nurse in hospital hallway

JCAHO Standards

JCAHO temperature standards, JCAHO tissue standards, tissue storage temperatures

JCAHO Standards

The Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, issued a new standardized procedures on storing tissue samples. This new standard, PC.17.10 applies to organizations that store or issue tissue, which may include areas outside of the clinical laboratory, for example, surgery and outpatient centers and tissue banks.

Examples of tissue specimens that might be found in an organization include bone, cornea, skin, heart valves/conduits, tendons, fascia, dura, bone marrow, veins, arteries, cartilage, sperm, embryos, eggs, stem cells, cord blood, synthetic tissue (artificially prepared, human and nonhuman based), and other cellular- and tissue-based transplant or implant products.

It says in part that the organization must:
B 6. Maintain continuous temperature monitoring for storage refrigerators and freezers.
C 7. Maintain daily records to show that tissues were stored at the required temperatures.

Note: Main types of tissue storage used are: “ambient” room temperature (for example, freeze-dried bone), refrigerated, frozen (for example, deep freezing colder than –40°C), and liquid nitrogen.
B 8. Storage equipment has functional alarms and emergency back-up.

How to comply?

The easiest way to comply with this standard, without purchasing a commercial laboratory freezer with a built-in monitoring system, is by adding on a standalone temperature system that is capable of monitoring, documenting and alarming.

One such system is the Master Thermometer, manufactured by 2di. It uses a probe to sample temperature every few minutes and draws an electronic chart on its display which complies with provision B6 and C6 of the standard. It also has a built-in relay that triggers an auto dialer or strobe/siren alarm, which complies with B8 of the JCAHO standard. It stores over 1.5 years of temperature history and can be downloaded into a computer to generate a paper copy of the graph or an archived copy. An added benefit of this device is that its chart is constantly being updated and always displayed so that each person in the vicinity of the freezer is always
aware of the temperature.

TV2 chart of 2 temps

Logging temperature

Data loggers: One way to monitor a freezer or cooler’s temperature

Data loggers are devices that can be used to sample and store temperature and/or humidity at regular intervals. Before data loggers, chart recorders used paper charts to record the information. This was useful but the amount of data they could display was limited and if the user forgot to change the chart mostly useless. The modern data logger stores the temperature history in its computer memory until it can be downloaded to a computer.

Data loggers were originally designed as weather forecasting tools, but were quickly adopted as a much better way to monitor freezers and refrigerators. Keeping stable temperature in a freezer is much more important than most people think. It is especially true when deep frozen food is stored where ten degrees can make the difference between safely stored food and food which can promote bacteria growth. The 10-degree difference in temperature might seem small, but it is crucial for deep frozen products.

Data loggers are absolutely necessary in professional freezers. The standard thermometer inside the freezer shows only the present temperature. Data loggers records temperature fluctuations all the time even when no one is looking.

There is at least one problem with data loggers that limits their usefulness. Although they record temperature history they do not display the temperature history. They must be downloaded to a computer before the history can be viewed.

Fortunately there has been an improvement to the data logger that overcomes this problem:  The TV2,
The Master Thermometer

Unlike other data loggers, The Master Thermometer works all by itself. It has a processor, its own memory and a big LCD screen, it doesn’t need a computer or any other device to display all the data it has stored in memory. Its sensors can be placed up to 300 feet from the display unit, which allows it to monitor and document temperature even in large freezers. As everything is stored in the Master Thermometer’s non volatile internal memory and is displayed on the LCD screen. A temperature chart is drawn on the LCD display so that anyone can immediately tell what has occurred within the last day, week or even month.

For more information please visit Two Dimensional Instruments: http://e2di.com/

Information About The Author

Rick Kaestner is the President and CEO of Two Dimensional Instruments; the worldwide leader
in providing technology to monitor, chart, alarm and record temperature and humidity. For
more information please visit their website at www.e2di.com