Non-Contact Infrared Thermometers (NCITs) Found Unreliable by FDA

Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer Inaccuracies

Non-contact infrared thermometers (NCITs) have become a common tool used in public temperature screenings since the pandemic first started, even though extensive scientific research has proven that they do not produce reliable or accurate temperature readings. A recent study published by the FDA found that NCITs may lead to inaccurate temperature readings, as they fall outside of the accuracy specifications advertised in the manufacturers’ instructions and labeling for proper usage.Non-contact infrared thermometers (NCITs) Found Unreliable by FDA

The study tested six different commercially available NCIT models among a sampling of 1,113 adults in a highly controlled environment that carefully managed all possible variables that could contribute to a high or low reading. Depending on the device, 48% – 88% of the individual temperature measurements fell outside the labeled accuracy range as stated by the manufacturers.

The FDA lists several requirements that need to be met in order to provide a more accurate reading, including using the device in the proper environment and/or location as external temperatures could affect the reading; the systems need to be set up correctly and calibrated regularly to ensure they are operating effectively; and the person handling the device must be properly trained on its setup, usage, cleaning and calibrating. If all of these steps are not followed correctly, consumers could suffer from inaccurate readings.

A Safe, Reliable, and Accurate Alternative

NexTemp Ultra® clinically accurate, single-use thermometers have become the preferred choice in many hospitals, businesses, schools, and government agencies around the world. All of Medical Indicators’ thermometers are accurate to ±0.2ºF or ±0.1ºC, which is the highest level of accuracy available on the market today.

Our thermometers utilize an innovative and proprietary chemistry system to measure core body temperature – providing the most accurate temperature reading available on the market today. And their disposability means that once you’ve taken a temperature, you simply throw it in the trash – virtually eliminating the risk of spreading germs and infections!

Made from materials commonly found in food packaging, cosmetics, and medical industries, our non-hazardous, non-toxic, and latex, glass, and mercury-free thermometers are manufactured in our U.S. FDA-registered and ISO-certified facility.

Added Patient Protection

Healthcare-Associated Infections cost hospitals anywhere from $28 to $45 billion a year. For healthcare systems, the associated financial costs could have crippling ramifications, namely reductions in Medicare reimbursement.

The potential for transmission of pathogens from patient-to-patient and patient-to-provider increases when thermometers are used on multiple patients by health care providers. Though NCITs have implied infection control benefits, even with the most stringent cleaning and sterilization protocols, it is nearly impossible to ensure a contaminant-free device for each and every use.

Moreover, Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology published a study showing that 24% of healthcare workers carry C. diff on their hands, even after disinfecting, meaning that NCITs provide inaccurate readings and unsafe conditions for both hospital staff and their patients. Medical Indicators’ single-use thermometers prevent the spread of germs – virtually eliminating the risks of contracting Healthcare-Acquired Infections.

In the end, non-contact infrared thermometers create more risks, cost more money, and lead to more HAI cases. Medical Indicators is proud to manufacture the only clinically accurate, single-use thermometer on the market today that is trusted as a safe, reliable, and accurate alternative to NCITs by top hospitals, urgent cares, dialysis clinics, and other leading healthcare facilities worldwide.

Taiwan Bans the Use of Infrared Thermometers as COVID Cases Surge Around the World

Although many in the US are fully vaccinated and have seemingly put the pandemic in the past, COVID-19 numbers are steadily rising for the first time in months. The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the US is grappling with a renewed surge of cases in what many are calling the “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Health experts also attribute the increase to relaxed restrictions on gatherings and mask mandates, as well as a rise in the highly contagious Delta variant.

The increase in COVID cases is not an isolated issue here in America. Numbers are also rising around the world with hot spots in Israel, Cuba, Spain, Japan, and the UK. Due to the rise in cases, many countries are tightening restrictions and cracking down on ineffective tools used to detect and treat the virus, namely thermometers.

According to an article in the Taiwan Times, “companies that sell thermometers that measure skin temperature and claim they can detect fever are breaking the law and would face fines of up to $892,953 (USD), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said last week.” Instead, officials recommend using government-approved thermometers, such as oral, axillary, and rectal thermometers.

Infrared and thermo-scanners are only allowed to be used as a reference because the devices are not approved for medical use. Taiwan FDA Medical Devices & Cosmetics Division Specialist, Lin Hsin-hui, stated that “…temperature is easily affected by peripheral circulation or the environment, and varies significantly from true body temperature.” Hsin-hui adds that there are no clinical trials proving that skin temperature is a valid way to determine if someone does or does not have a fever.

As of July 12, 2021, importing, manufacturing, or selling such devices for medical purposes is illegal in Taiwan. Those who choose to ignore the new regulation could face up to three years in jail and fines close to $900,000 (USD). Additionally, companies and individuals claiming that infrareds and other similar devices can be used to check for a fever can be fined $20,000-$900,000 (USD).

The article ends by stating that people who contract COVID-19 develop a fever in the initial stages of the infection, so the Taiwan FDA is urging people to monitor their temperature regularly with a thermometer approved for medical use.

While infrared and thermal imaging devices are not an accurate way to take a temperature, all of Medical Indicators’ thermometers are. Our thermometers are specifically designed for oral, axillary, and rectal use, providing an accurate core body temperature reading each and every time. And their disposability means that once a temperature is taken, you simply discard the thermometer and all of the germs along with it – virtually eliminating the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others. Learn more about our highly accurate, single-use thermometers and how they can help you today.