Just received this from IPEM COVID 19 Cross Speciality Community Digest - Friday June 12, 2020
Various hospitals have been looking at the viability of using infrared thermometry either in place of or alongside tympanic membrane or other measuring devices. A detailed review paper from February 2020 concluded that infrared thermometry is insufficiently accurate to replace tympanic thermometry in routine clinical use: evidence on non-contact thermometers shows that they fail to detect febrile patients accurately and are not suitable for acute settings. See: globalce.org/index.php/GlobalCE/article/view/67. NICE have published a guideline on temperature measurement around surgery that sets out some options for measuring core temperature and refers to the limitations of indirect methods – see: www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg65/chapter/Recommendations.
A detailed paper written by IPEM members with NPL is currently being prepared for publication. Information on this will be added to the COVID-19 National Overview of Clinical Engineering Issues when it is available. The same group is drawing up guidance for general users on suitable technologies.
With regard to the use of infrared screening at a large scale, the current consensus appears to be that it requires careful and consistent measurement techniques to pick up an individual's core temperature and so will be difficult to mass screen individuals quickly and reliably in practice for signs of infection using temperature monitoring. A recent editorial reiterates this problem and the lack of an evidence base for using thermal imaging technologies in large scale screening (Thermology International 30(1):5-6, February 2020) Infrared thermography for mass fever screening: repeating the mistakes of the past?). This suggests that these technologies are not suitable for deployment in UK hospitals without scientific involvement and detailed evaluation. There are also privacy and other operational concerns: for a general review of these and an overview of thermal imaging screening, see: fpf.org/2020/06/03/....
A presentation from Dr Kevin Howells from the Royal Free Hospital, London, for the PMSIG, on the limitations of infrared screening has been uploaded to the IPEM COVID-19 Community of Interest Library.
I hope this helps