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How technology can be key when protecting key workers

How technology can be key when protecting key workers

Mark Nightingale, COO, Thermavis, writes about the technology which can read the body temperature of up to six people at once – explaining how it works and the role it will play as we live with COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic is the most prolific global health crisis of our time. As well as ruining lives and livelihoods, it has put the health and wellbeing of frontline workers at risk, in hospitals and care homes across the country.

But the pandemic is much more than a health crisis, it is also an unprecedented economic crisis. Affecting every single country it touches, it has had devastating social, economic, and political effects that will leave deep and longstanding challenges. In the UK, every day, people are losing their jobs, with no way of knowing when normality will return and there is a tremendous pressure on the NHS as well as a huge challenge facing healthcare workers when keeping them and their patients safe.

There are massive risks taken daily by the hundreds of British doctors, nurses and healthcare workers treating Coronavirus patients have been proved by a growing number of deaths.

Technology can play a key role in quickly and efficiently providing the necessary health and safety checks. A key symptom of the virus is a high temperature and therefore it’s important that temperature checks and other non-intrusive methods are used so not to cause delays or queues in hospitals and care homes. Technology has been successfully preventing worker fatalities and injuries for years, however, the outbreak of Coronavirus has highlighted a new perspective on how workplace safety can be further improved. With a high transmissibility, a case fatality number larger than 1%, and still no effective vaccine, the main tactic of pandemic management has been containment and other actions of reducing the severity of the pandemic. Digital health technology can facilitate pandemic response and strategy in ways that are difficult to achieve manually.

That is why we invented Thermavis, the scanner which can be used to protect workers from COVID-19. The AI-powered thermal imaging system is a Multi-Person Thermal Scanner that can accurately read the body temperature of up to six people at once with an accuracy of 0.5 degrees centigrade. Thermal cameras provide information on disease prevalence and pathology as well as identifying individuals for testing, contact tracing, and quarantine. As lockdown restrictions are being eased and more and more businesses are reopening, there is an increased risk to workers of contracting the disease. This is particularly true in healthcare, as non-COVID-19-related treatments are reintroduced, bringing potentially vulnerable people into a high-risk environment. We believe that industries such as construction, government, offices, and hospitality could benefit from this technology.

The scanner takes a primary reading from the tear duct, where there are least likely to be body-heat anomalies or interference from face masks. It also takes a second reading from the forehead to accommodate glasses-wearers. It is a non-contact device, meaning operators do not need to come into close contact with suspected carriers. Roughly the size of a smartphone, the un-obtrusive device is easy to move and can be fitted in doorways and entrances, facing lifts or in other high-traffic areas to ensure a maximum reading. This real-time reading is relayed to a remote tablet – or to any connected Windows device – and allows multiple monitoring points, cloud connectivity and screen sharing.

Big data and artificial intelligence (AI) have helped smooth the COVID-19 readiness and the tracking of people in many locations globally. Tools such as high-performance infrared thermal cameras can be set up to capture thermal images of people in real time, rapidly detecting individuals, and healthcare workers with a fever.

Transputec’s experience as an IT support provider meant that we knew the solution needed to be flexible yet simple, so we took a software led approach. Meaning our camera and software can be used on any computer running Windows 10, opening up a huge range of custom possibilities around mounting, remote monitoring and information security. For those looking for a simple out-of-the-box solution, we offer a complete plug-and-play system also.

Finally the system is a new technology, which the public need to get used to, so therefore Thermavis was designed to be as discreet and non-intrusive as possible, whilst capturing multiple peoples temp at the same time.

The integration of digital technology into pandemic policy and response could be one of the ways we have flattened the COVID-19 infection curves and helped to maintain low mortality rates. Countries have quickly deployed digital technologies to facilitate planning, surveillance, testing, contact tracing, and quarantine which has played a vital role in managing the disease. Our hope is that the Thermavis scanner can join the fight and help healthcare workers and employees from other industries to return to normality.

Med-Tech Innovation

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