August 27th, 2020 8:13 am

Thermal Imaging to Screen for COVID-19

An article from our friends @ The Leading Edge –


Several LeadingAge Provider Members have inquired about temperature check and thermal monitoring systems to help screen residents, staff, and visitors for fevers that may indicate COVID-19. CAST Executive Director Majd Alwan, Ph.D., has provided guidance to help you review your options.

First, as you are screening people entering your facility, please remember that some people may be asymptomatic. For safety, it is important to do more testing and infection control.

A Simple Solution: Infrared Cameras

Before implementing thermal imaging solutions, please read this recent Wired article, “Can You Use an Infrared Camera to Detect a Fever?” Spoiler alert: The article concludes that skin temperature is almost always lower than the internal body temperature? A good infrared camera can capture small differences in temperature, but only certain spots in the body, like the inner corner of the eye, the ear canal, and the inside of the mouth are good for detecting a fever. There are thermal imaging systems that are sophisticated enough to help you identify those who are warmer than others.

Thermal Imaging Cameras

While most thermal imaging systems are overkill and expensive, Seek and FLIR dominate the thermal imaging market with affordable thermal imaging cameras. Some of these cameras are specifically designed for measuring and estimating body temperature for medical screening. They could be used with custom programs written to implement the screening questionnaire, capture the images, and keep a record. You can buy these cameras on Amazon.

Non-Contact Temperature Checks

Accushield recently integrated an infrared non-contact thermometer and temperature checking/logging feature with its visitor check-in kiosks. Accushield may be willing to integrate with one of the more affordable thermal imaging solutions from SEEK or FLIR.

In addition, LeadingAge CAST Supporter Connected Living is working on integrating a thermal-imaging-based non-contact temperature check with its own product, as well as with the Temi mobile robot platform it is bringing to the United States.

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