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3 Trends in Medical-Grade Cold Storage

Posted on May 21, 2024 by Chris Storey

GX Solutions from Helmer Scientific

From the introduction of HMOs in the 1990s to the Affordable Care Act in 2010 to the rise of the Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) and the rapid development of biologics, mRNA, and gene therapies, healthcare has experienced wide sweeping changes in the past 30 years that have impacted macro and micro-level aspects of patient care.

In this blog, we’ll talk about some of the growing healthcare trends you should consider when selecting medical-grade refrigeration:

  • Growing Cold Chain Requirements
  • Staffing Difficulties
  • Environmental Sustainability

Growing Cold Chain Requirements

As medical science continues to evolve, the complexity of various patient therapies evolves with it. According to the ASHP, the increased quantity of therapies such as biologics, compounded drugs, and specialty infusions make it very likely that the need for special storage and handling practices will increase.

This increase means a higher percentage of a facility’s footprint could be dedicated to medical-grade cold storage and inventory will be at risk of loss if stored incorrectly.

Future planning for expanded cold storage equipment requires facilities and budget planning. If your facility is currently on a growth trajectory, ask yourself the following questions to see if you’re prepared to meet the growing cold chain requirements:

  • How fast is my facility growing? If your facility is growing quickly, speak with an equipment planner about how to optimize your space and budget to allow for the purchase and installation of more cold storage equipment. If your facility is experiencing moderate growth, you may be able to get by with your current solutions for now, but spend some time thinking and planning your cold storage needs in the next few years.
  • What percentage of inventory requires cold storage? Run an inventory report for the therapies currently in stock to calculate the percentage of inventory cost (not volume) requiring cold storage. Then run the same report from the previous year and compare.
  • How much physical space do I have for cold storage? Facilities may require additional space to meet cold chain growth requirements. Medical-grade cold storage is available in multiple sizes and configurations to help meet storage requirements in existing facilities.

Cold chain growth will likely continue to expand as an increasing number of therapies requiring temperature-controlled storage are developed and approved. Clinical directors can stay ahead of cold storage needs by planning for facility growth and budgeting for future cold storage equipment.

staffing difficulties

The COVID-19 pandemic placed pressure on the healthcare system and its employees. 

In the wake of the changes sparked by the pandemic, healthcare staffing continues to be a struggle for some departments, adding further strain to the employees manning understaffed facilities.

Adding faulty or unreliable equipment to the mix further adds to the mental strain of the employees and can result in costly losses and mistakes due to improper storage. Additionally, aging equipment can create a substantial amount of ambient noise, sometimes up to 150 dB, which can disrupt the productivity of the workplace.

Shortages mean employees are in high demand. Better workplace conditions can help reduce the number of in-demand workers from leaving.

Help reduce burnout and mental strain on staff by ensuring access to quality equipment and a conducive workplace.

environmental sustainability

Public sentiment and public policy continue to pressure and incentivize corporate sustainability in the healthcare industry. Legislation offers rebates, incentive programs, grants, and more to healthcare facilities that prioritize environmentally sustainable practices.

According to the Joint Commission website, “Cost savings may be realized by utilizing energy-efficient technologies, implementing waste management strategies, and taking advantage of the climate provisions in recently enacted federal law which allow for new or expanded tax credits for energy-efficient facilities and incentives for equipment that can be used for renewable energy.”

Depending on the equipment and the cost of energy, savings can be thousands of dollars per unit during the lifespan of the equipment. Replacing conventional cold storage equipment can help dramatically reduce per-unit energy consumption, which leads to cost savings and carbon reduction.

When searching for energy-efficient cold storage solutions, look for options that have been certified by a trusted energy certification organization, such as ENERGY STAR®.

Other indicators of environmental performance include vibrations, noise, and greenhouse gas emissions. Search for cold storage solutions that produce low levels of noise and vibration and use environmentally friendly refrigerants that have been certified by the U.S. EPA Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program.

Planning for the Future with GX Solutions

With these trends and others in healthcare, clinical directors must make a concerted effort to stay informed and plan ahead as much as possible.

Helmer’s GX Solutions cold storage products are designed to provide superior reliability and performance for years to come. GX Solutions are certified to the NSF/ANSI 456 Vaccine Storage Standard and boast industry leading temperature uniformity, recovery, and stability to protect valuable therapies and reagents.


GX Solutions are rigorously tested for durability and reliability, undergoing Accelerated Life Testing to help staff members avoid headaches from inferior equipment and focus on their work.

GX Solutions cold storage units also produce 42 dB of noise, the equivalent of a quiet library, so staff can think and communicate effectively in the work environment.

Finally, all GX Solutions cold storage units are ENERGY STAR® certified and have lower energy consumption when compared with conventional refrigeration. GX Solutions also use U.S. EPA SNAP compliant refrigerants with low global warming impact (GWP) scores.

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Chris Storey

Written by Chris Storey

Chris Storey is the segment marketing manager for healthcare applications at Helmer Scientific. He has more than five years of sales & marketing experience. He has in MBA in marketing and analytics.

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