Posted by Seals

Tamper evident security seals serve two key functions in all applications. First is that seals provide evidence of tampering or exposure. When properly used and inspected seals tell you if something has been opened. This gives a high level of assurance that a critical item has not been violated or taken. Second is that seals can identify or verify specific items through unique seal types, shapes, colors, markings, numbers and printed coding. A quick visual check will tell you what is inside.

Both of these functions are critically important in the medical system. American Casting & Manufacturing supplies the security seals for significant parts of the medical system.

Here are some of the key uses of security seals in the medical field -- from the original source of manufacturing, through the individual use and disposal of all types of medical facilities.

Product Packaging and Transit

Most medical supplies in their original cartons or containers while in transit are protected by tamper evident and security seals. This includes drugs, needles, masks, test kits, protective clothing, medical devices, tools, etc. are protected. The purpose is to detect and deter such things as contamination, spoilage, adulteration, pilfering, or loss from theft or handling errors.

Among the most critical of these are narcotics and controlled substances, blood and biologic materials, and testing supplies or devices going to and from hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and pharmacies.

A carton might be sealed with tamper evident tape, or a plastic tote with a plastic pull up seal. Trucks or airline containers are sealed with car seals, and various packages are sealed with adhesive security labels. Many specialty products have their own customized security packaging with tamper evident closures built into them.

At the wholesale level, most pharmaceutical ingredients and bulk finished products are moved from supplier to packaging facilities in drums, tanks, and bulk containers that are sealed either with a cargo type seal or a tamper evident adhesive seal. A typical drum of bulk dry medical ingredients might have a seal on a large drum and a secondary seal on the plastic liner inside the drum. If the outer seal is damaged in transit the inner seal would assure the integrity of the contents.

Receiving, Storage, and Distribution

As with any enterprise, incoming goods need to be recorded, sent to the appropriate place of use, and tracked. In hospitals and medical care centers tracking is important to maintain supply and schedule replacement, to keep records of the time and place of use, verify the storage location, follow maintenance schedules, or any number of other internal recordings, safety or accounting purposes.

Uses at Hospitals or other Medical Care and Testing Facilities

Plastic Padlock Seals are used broadly in hospitals to seal medicine cabinets “crash” carts and storage bins for supplies of all types. Plastic padlock seals that can be easily opened by hand are most commonly used. While some storage spaces are locked with a key, a seal is sometimes also used to keep track of opening and closing.

Medical equipment is sometimes sealed with a tamper evident adhesive security label after calibration or service, to assure the device has not been altered or accessed by others.

Test samples are almost always sealed in laboratories and testing facilities at all times for confirming its status and assuring it is tied to the correct person and procedure. However many of the sample components are supplied with customized sealing containers like adhesive closures, pouches, tubes and vials.

A typical mechanical seal would not be practical for this use. The exception to that would be a plastic box or tote used to store or transport large quantities of test samples or test kits in bulk. Plastic pull up seals often are used for transporting plastic boxes of drugs and testing materials. This also includes boxes of medicines moved in and out of pharmacies.

Disposal and Handling of Medical Waste

Medical waste is stored and moved in a variety of containers including boxes, bags, pouches, and various specialized vessels. There are numerous regulations regarding how to package and move medical waste and some ow these regulations do involve security seals.

Typically smaller items are placed in larger bags or containers and sealed with a seal that is clearly marked to be a biohazard. Pull-up plastic seals, as well as other types, can be marked clearly with universally recognized biohazard emblems. The security seal provides assurance that the hazardous material was not spilled or tampered. The seal can be used as a means of keeping a record of the quantity of material and other data that may require users to assure the correct amount and type of material is received at the disposal point.

There are too many potential ways that seals are and could be applied in medical services and the health industry overall to cover in a short article like this.

If you have questions regarding applications for seals in a medical setting or any area, AC&Ms experts have decades of experience with seals, and are ready to assist.

Contact a specialist at: info@seals.com or call 1-800-342-0333 in the US or 516-349-7010 from outside the US.