Fever is a primary symptom of seasonal influenza, H1N1, and other infectious diseases.
The systems have been used in several countries to screen for fever in travelers.
“The purpose of fever screening is to protect patients,” said Dr. Hewlett, assistant professor of infectious diseases, UNMC Department of Internal Medicine. “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.”
The results of the study were presented at the Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections in Atlanta last weekend.
Dr. Hewlett evaluated the OptoTherm ThermoScreen viability in a practical clinical setting — in the emergency room of The Nebraska Medical Center from November 2009 to January 2010, during the height of the H1N1 pandemic.
The system uses 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.
During the study period, participating patients at the emergency room had their temperature measured by the ITDS and then by routine oral or rectal temperature measurements taken in the triage area of the emergency room. Patients who were identified with fever were managed with routine protocols, including separation or surgical masks.
Dr. Hewlett cautioned that their study used mostly oral temperature measurements as the standard to measure the effectiveness of the ITDS. Oral measurements are not always an accurate measure of temperature, but represent the most widely used measurement of temperature in clinical settings. Further evaluation of the device is needed.
OptoTherm, the maker of the ThermoScreen, loaned the machine to UNMC for the study period. Dr. Hewlett and colleagues did not receive outside funding for this study.
The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), Inc. and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) are convening the Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections 2010, the scientific event to set the agenda for preventing healthcare-associated infections for the next decade March 18-22, 2010 in Atlanta, GA.
As the state’s only academic health science center, UNMC is on the leading edge of health care. Breakthroughs are possible because hard-working researchers, educators and clinicians are resolved to work together to fuel discovery. In 2009, UNMC’s extramural research support topped $100 million for the first time, resulting in the creation of 3,600 jobs in Nebraska. UNMC’s academic excellence is shown through its award-winning programs, and its educational programs are responsible for training more health professionals practicing in Nebraska than any other institution. Through its commitment to education, research, patient care and outreach, UNMC and its hospital partner, The Nebraska Medical Center, have established themselves as one of the country’s leading health care centers. UNMC’s physician practice group, UNMC Physicians, includes 550 physicians in 50 specialties and subspecialties who practice primarily in The Nebraska Medical Center. For more information, go to UNMC’s Web site at www.unmc.edu.