The ITDS detected fever in patients through split-second, non-contact skin temperature measurements. Fever is a primary symptom of seasonal influenza, H1N1, avian influenza, SARS and other infectious diseases.
Angela Hewlett and colleagues evaluated the ITDS during the height of the H1N1 pandemic from November 18, 2009 to January 9, 2010 to test the tool's viability in a practical clinical setting. The ITDS employs a thermal imaging camera to measure skin temperature by detecting and quantifying the infrared energy being emitted from the face. The ITDS temperature measurements were compared with standard temperature measurements for 566 patients, ages 15 days to 89 years old.
Infrared thermal detection systems have been used in several countries to screen for fever in travellers. Hewlett and her team wanted to utilize the technology as an infection control option in a clinical setting. "This technology allows clinicians to rapidly screen people for fever, so that incoming patients and visitors who may be ill can be identified quickly and reduce the danger of spreading diseases like influenza to other people in the hospital," said Hewlett.
During the study period, participating patients at the emergency department had their temperature measured by the ITDS and then by routine oral or rectal temperature measurements. Patients who were identified with fever were managed with routine protocols, including separation or surgical masks.
The ITDS proved to be an effective screening tool for identifying patients with fever across all age ranges and genders. While the ITDS had a high negative predictive value–correctly excluding most patients without fever–the machine also generated a high percentage of false positive results, measuring higher temperatures than routine temperature measurements. According to the study, if fever was not detected by the ITDS, then there was a 97 percent chance that there was no fever present. Further evaluation of the performance and utility of the device is needed.
MEDICA.de; Source: Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America