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When we use the word Smart and couple this with Solutions, then add in the term Last Mile, or Patient Mile, it seems everything you read has either a different solution, or interpretation related to the need!

The common denominator however always seems to be insuring that the cold chain products are delivered to the very end point, in most cases the patient delivery point, with safety and efficacy as the ultimate goal.

Many Passive solutions are available from the box manufacturers that have been validated, route profiled and tested to provide enough extra temperature control time built into the package to cover most, if not all, delays or delivery excursions that may occur. But like all things in life there are no guarantees!

Active boxes, or carrier devices, are available at a high cost and generally come with a back-up generator that can be used along the way to insure temperature maintenance, but are usually not just expensive, but are also very heavy to make “portable” not the optimum solution wording.

So what about a Smart Hybrid solution that combines both Active and Passive technology that can be used to carry the vaccines, or whatever critical cold chain drugs that need transporting, from the DC to the point of distribution and in many cases even directly to the patient. And what if – when it gets there it can be plugged into a main power source to act as a refrigerator with a cellular connection to a cloud data base to provide real time location and condition data?

Sounds like something out of “back to the future”, but soon this will be a reality as there are many companies working on such a solution that will be provided at a cost point to make this suitable for field use in the under-developed regions as well as a device for clinics that have to provide mass vaccination programs, or store clinical trials supplies whilst suitable trial patients are enrolled.

Keep watching this space for more updates and for a way to manage your Last Mile – Smarter.

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Peter Norton is currently employed as the Business Development Director for DeltaTrak Inc., of Pleasanton CA. His primary areas of expertise relate to Cold Chain and Supply Chain Logistics Solutions, for which he advises clients on processes related to Cold Chain shipping solutions, Risk Assessment, Inventory Management and the emerging new rules and regulations for Cold Chain linked into Track and Trace and e-Pedigree.

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