July 24, 2020 | Bob Zollars
The Time Has Come to Bring Temperature Taking to the 21st Century
Having worked in the healthcare industry for over the past forty years, I've spent a lot of time in hospitals and care settings. Much of that time has been with companies that are advancing healthcare technology to improve clinical outcomes, reduce costs, improve the patient experience, and enable our healthcare workers to better serve their patients.
While many of these technological advances have been game changers and incredibly exciting - temperature taking - one of the most basic and important tests that we use to check an individual's health, has lagged significantly.
Temperature checking is still relegated to episodic and an extremely old technology where we use a clinical thermometer in a very manual process.
It often struck me that when I was in an acute care setting and the patient was in their bed, many of their vital clinical measurements were continuously monitored: pulse ox, heart rate, blood pressure, etc. If there were ever a variance an alarm would sound and their nurse would enter the room and address the issue.
This was not the case with checking the patient's temperature. Every few hours, whether the patient was asleep or not, the clinician would enter their room, apologize for interrupting their sleep or quiet healing process and let them know, “It’s time to check your temperature.” (This process of inserting a clinical thermometer and getting a one time reading for that particular point in time was invented in 1866!) After the reading, the clinician would jot a note on a scrap of paper, or make a mental note to enter it into the electronic health record when they went back to their computer. I've even seen some write it on their hand. How can such a critical and basic measurement be managed so episodically?
The time has come to bring this process into the 21st century.
We need a non-invasive, continuously monitored technology that can measure any individual's temperature (and by the way - we’re all different when it comes to temp) to alert us when there is a variation to our healthy state. This data should be captured and stored automatically and take advantage of the vast computing power and machine learning we now have available.
This technology is now available.
I've been wearing a FeverGuard 24x7 for the past eight weeks and after the first hour I forgot I’m even wearing it. Not to mention, the data it is generating is fascinating! I can see the natural circadian rhythm of my temperature throughout the day, right on my phone. During this current COVID pandemic, it is reassuring to know my temperature is well within normal. Once COVID is behind us, this technology will greatly improve the “art” of monitoring temperature, especially in the healthcare industry. No longer will a patient have to be awoken, nor a caregiver feel bad for interrupting their sleep.
It took us 154 years, but we finally have a better solution for monitoring temperature.