September 24, 2020 | Richard Grodahl
On Monday, September 21 Sumanthi Reddy published an article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Temperature Isn't a Good Litmus Test for Coronavirus, Doctors Say.”
Ms. Reddy posits that the Litmus Test we’re using — temperature checks — for reentry into school, athletics, social events and business is flawed. And Ms. Reddy was right. We do need a better, more accurate and personalized way to detect fever. And Solos Health Analytics has found it.
Here’s where the author is absolutely correct. There are many problems with the various thermometers available today.
- Infrared forehead scanners (IR scanners) are error prone and highly inaccurate
- Ear thermometers are at the greatest risk of error because of ear wax and other limits.
- Body temperature scanners yield inconsistent results. The underlying technology was not designed for fever detection; the system is prone to operator error: temperature is obscured by clothes, etc.
And here’s what Ms. Reddy writes about temperature that is really important to understand; an individual's baseline temperature varies depending on age, gender, and other factors. Temperatures also fluctuate throughout the day based on a person's circadian rhythm. Your temperature pattern, like your fingerprint, is unique to you.
All of the issues about temperature, thermometers, and fevers Ms. Reddy explains are completely correct. There is tremendous variability in individual temperatures and the temperature measuring tools we have available today are not error-proof. These are byproducts of a flawed measurement system for fever detection.
So why have we come to accept that these temperature scans keep us safe?
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection relies on body scanners at Ports of Entry so they must be a proven method for fever screening, correct? My doctor’s office uses a fancy (and obviously expensive) IR scanner to screen me before my appointment. Am I healthy if they let me into their clinic after a temperature check?
I chuckle thinking of a recent visit to my favorite restaurant. Diners were not allowed in unless they had an acceptable forehead temperature reading. The hostess administered the scan. The first reading was 92 ºF. That couldn't be correct. The second scan didn't register. The third scan was 100 ºF. "Do you feel ill?” asked the hostess. Not too sick to eat a steak and drink some wine, I thought, so I replied, "That reading can't be right?" The hostess agreed and ushered me in.
My point is whether we go to a restaurant, doctor's office, salon, airport or sporting event we can all expect a temperature screen. Entrance will depend on what registers on the scanner regardless of whether I was just sunbathing, soaking in a cryotherapy tank or working out.
Is there something that can keep us safe?
By now you know that almost every current method of measuring body temperature reading is prone to error. That 98.6 ºF is no longer “normal”. And that 100.4 ºF is basically an antiquated designation for a fever. But did you also know that there has been little innovation in the standard thermometer since 1866! (Read our blog The Time Has Come to Bring Temperature Taking to the 21st Century). With all of the technology available to us today, why has there been no innovation in measuring temperature? Well now there is.
Introducing FeverGuard — the only real-time continuous temperature monitoring wearable for early fever detection based on an individualized basis. The FeverGuard AI engine and patent-pending technology learns every individual's unique temperature pattern, then issues an alert when someone is out of their 'normal" range. This game-changing (and completely private and HIPAA compliant) technology is the only temperature measuring wearable that brings the wearer peace of mind, that if they are developing a potential fever, they will be alerted at its precise onset. Solos Health Analytics has taken a data-centric approach so prevalent in other businesses and applied it to fever detection.
Because according to Dr. Julie Parsonnet, infectious disease specialist and Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine (and advisor to Solos Health Analytics), "During a pandemic—and even under normal conditions—a day or two warning can be critical to initiating effective treatment and preventing infection transmission."
As Dr. Hausmann points out in the article. “… everyone’s concerned about fevers.” So we ought to have a thermometer that knows whether we have developed a fever or if it's just the natural point in our day when our temperature is elevated.
For a short time, we’re offering the beta version of FeverGuard free to our frontline essential workers. To learn more about FeverGuard and see if you qualify for a free FeverGuard go to www.feverguard.com.