Have you been tasked with finding a health screening solution that will help detect symptoms and risk factors related to COVID-19?
Many solutions are available but not all are the same and some offer more benefits than others.
This article will help identify some of the factors you should consider in order to choose the optimal solution for your organization.
A solution that has the ability to pre-screen people who need access to your facilities will allow the organization to avoid lengthy lineups at the main entrance or lobby. Employees, customers or other visitors are able to access a self-assessment questionnaire via an app or the web and answer government-approved questions designed to identify individuals at risk or show symptoms of infection.
In the case of some health screening solutions, that is as far as it goes. The program tells the person whether he can continue to the facility or not. For other more sophisticated systems, the pre-screening is only step one and is often provided to employees or students as a way to screen before heading out to work or campus, The next step involves a kiosk that will identify the visitor and recognize whether he or she has completed a questionnaire. The system will then capture the person’s body temperature with a thermal camera.
The advantage of this system is that the individual is able to pass through quickly, often in less than 5-10 seconds, freeing up the entrances, lobbies and gates of any congestion.
An automated solution can help with risk management, productivity and efficiency. When solutions leverage artificial intelligence, procedures at the main entrances or lobbies are automated. Thanks to automation, procedures are always performed properly, human errors are reduced, and the overall screening process is faster.
In addition, the staff that would have been assigned to this repetitive task can now be deployed to perform other more strategic duties, increasing both their productivity and their value to the organization. Their health is protected as their risk of exposure is reduced.
When evaluating health screening systems, consider solutions that use artificial intelligence to automate the screening process.
Follows standard guidelines
The ability to detect and monitor temperature accurately using a thermal camera is a key benefit and an important differentiator of health screening systems. Two of the world’s top international standards groups, the ISO and IEC, have published detailed standard guides, and Health Canada and the FDA have endorsed these standards. Health screening solutions that use thermal cameras should follow these guidelines, but not all do. The guidelines provide instruction on how to obtain the most accurate temperature readings
The recognition of ISO and IEC standards is broad and global, but they are not legally binding. They are often cited, recommended, or called out by government agencies, such as Health Canada and the FDA, so there is some risk associated with ignoring the standards. Ignoring the guidelines can impact the accuracy of temperature readings and if coronavirus infections are subsequently traced to a specific facility, the legal risk could increase because the organization did not follow the recommended standards.
When it comes to fever detection systems using a thermal camera, it is best to choose a solution that follows the ISO and EIC guidelines.
The most common symptom of COVID-19 is fever which can be detected using a thermal camera or a sensor. However, not all solutions for detecting fever are equal.
The accuracy of a thermal camera or sensor depends on many variables including the resolution, the area from where the temperature will be taken and the positioning of the individual.
The ideal solution is an industrial-grade thermal camera that is able to capture the temperature from the inner eye. Why the inner eye? Because the temperature of the inner corner of the eye has been proven to be the closest to the core temperature of the body. In comparison, taking temperature from the skin provides a less accurate reading because skin absorbs radiation differently.
Many solution providers use a resolution of 240 by 180 pixels which is not enough to take an accurate body temperature. At a distance of two meters (approximately 6 feet) the pixel resolution must be 640 by 480 pixels. Thermal cameras with less than that will not provide enough accuracy in reading temperatures.
The solution should follow the ISO and IEC guidelines recommending that:
- Only one person is screened at a time
- The camera focuses on the inner eye which will provide the most accurate reading
- The face is not obstructed by eyeglasses, hair or hats
- The person is facing the camera
- The camera is used under indoor conditions
- The solution uses a black body device, a calibrated temperature reference
Black body device
Ambient conditions like heat, humidity, and lighting can affect the accuracy of a thermal camera’s temperature readings. The black body acts as a reliable temperature reference point so the reading can calibrate itself against it. The use of a black body improves accuracy significantly by allowing the corrections necessary to obtain a more precise measurement.
Logs that can be audited
The standards state that organizations should keep a record of all data related to thermal temperature checks for a minimum of 30 days. This period of time is the maximum incubation time for most infectious diseases. Should a government organization or public health require longer record-keeping, the health screening solution you choose should be able to provide it.
Real-time monitoring and reporting
The ability to have real-time remote monitoring and reporting is essential for organizations. This eliminates any lag time in data transmission and allows managers to react quickly when an alert is sounded even if the problem arose in another city.
Real-time visibility combined with the ability to see data for multiple sites at the same time allows organizations to learn what is happening across all facilities. If your organization has multiple plants or offices, your chosen health screening solution should provide real-time remote monitoring and reporting capabilities.
With the coronavirus being able to survive on surfaces, a contactless solution can provide additional security by eliminating the need to touch a kiosk terminal or person. Artificial intelligence allows thermal cameras to detect an individual, their face, their eyes and to read their temperature from the inner eye.
A voice interactive solution can allow screening questionnaires to be completed using natural language interaction. There is no need for the person to touch anything in order to answer, thereby reducing the risk of contamination. A health screening solution that can provide multi-language capabilities is ideal.
With so many unreliable health screening solutions flooding the market, it can be overwhelming to try and understand all the different capabilities. As with most purchases, you get what you pay for. Many lower priced solutions will not only fail to deliver on all the features listed above but will provide inaccurate temperature readings.
If the threat of having to shut down your operations is a reality, a health screening solution that follows ISO and EIC guidelines is your best option. A reliable solution will cost less than a disruption in business operations and will help prevent the negative press attention associated with a shutdown. Protect your workplace.
Nuvoola’s LUKE AI for Health Screening Protection (HSP) follows ISO and EIC guidelines, pre-screens, uses a thermal camera and artificial intelligence to provide automatic, real-time data capture and alerts. The system is touchless and provides multi-lingual speech interaction along with logs that can be audited. Learn more about LUKE AI HSP here.