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.

Why Medical Indicators’ Single-Use Thermometers Are Made in the USA

At Medical Indicators, we’ve been manufacturing all of our clinically-accurate, single-use thermometers in the US since our inception, more than 35 years ago. Our headquarters, located in Hamilton, New Jersey, is home to our corporate offices, laboratories, quality control center, production facilities and shipping & distribution center. We’re proud to be an American-made company and we’ve found that our customers, both in and outside of the US, appreciate the fact that we provide quality, American-made thermometers.

Most products these days, including thermometers, are not made in the US. Pick up an item at the store and you’ll most likely find “Made in China” instead of “Made in America” on the label. While that may be the new norm for other companies, at Medical Indicators, we have found that American manufacturing offers many benefits, to both our company and our customers. These benefits include the production of higher quality products, faster production and delivery times, competitive prices and more jobs for Americans.

In the 1980’s, Dr. Robert Witonsky founded Medical Indicators because as a doctor himself, he saw the need for a thermometer that provides accurate temperature readings, while also preventing patients and healthcare providers from exposure to infections. We began with our NexTemp® thermometers, and over the years, we’ve worked to increase production capabilities and expand our product offerings to meet the needs of our growing customer base. Our product portfolio now includes our NexTemp®, NexTemp® Ultra, TempaDOT® and TraxIt® line of thermometers.

Our continued growth and success has enabled us to expanded our reach throughout the US and Canada, as well as more than 30 international marketplaces around the world with distribution channels in Europe, South Africa, Asia, Australia and Central and South America. We attribute many of our successes to our foundation in American manufacturing, and we’re proud that we’ve become a global leader in the single-use medical device arena, supplying our thermometers to hospitals, clinics, businesses, schools and families around the world.

Infrared Thermometers and Their Inability to Fight Against COVID-19

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, infrared thermometers have become a popular way to take temperature screenings in high-volume areas. Many businesses, including restaurants, stores, movie theaters and even companies and their corporate office locations, use them as a way to test for a fever in hopes of limiting their exposure to COVID-19. While infrared thermometers may be easy to use, they have unfortunately proven to be wildly inaccurate. Johns Hopkins Medicine issued an article titled Physicians Say Non-Contact Infrared Thermometers Fall Short As COVID-19 Screeners, which explains why these thermometers cannot be used as a trusted source.

Infrared thermometers only measure a person’s skin temperature, rather than measuring core body temperature – which is the key indicator of an infection. External factors, including the weather, the temperature of a room, an individual’s recent physical activity and other environmental variables, will affect the accuracy of the thermometer and the readings they provide. Because these factors can affect the results when using infrared thermometers, it creates a range of possible temperatures leaving a large margin for error. In the study, Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that during the course of a fever infrared thermometers can give misleading readings, so they should not be used as a trusted source to accurately determine if someone does or does not have a temperature.

The report states that more than 46,000 travelers were screened in 2020 with non-contact infrared thermometers and only one person was identified as having COVID-19. In addition to that, approximately 766,000 travelers were screened during January 17th-September 13th, and only one person per 85,000 later tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, 47 out of 278 people with symptoms similar to COVID-19 had a measured temperature meeting the CDC criteria for fever. They explain that this data shows that non-contact infrared thermometers fall short as a screening test for COVID-19.

Although infrared thermometers provide a convenient way to take someone else’s temperature, the many concerns about inaccurate readings are worrisome. These devices could not detect a person’s fever when they do in fact have one, resulting in that person potentially exposing others to their illness. Conversely, these devices can also report a temperature when the person doesn’t actually have one, leading to unnecessary worry, doctors’ visits and an abrupt change in plans.

Especially in light of recent events, it’s imperative that consumers are able to trust the products they use. Medical Indicators’ thermometers not only provide the most accurate temperature reading available on the market today, but their disposability means that once a temperature is taken, you simply throw it away along with all of the germs – and any worry over spreading an infection!