Using Body Temperature Monitoring Devices to Manage COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, governments and organizations are busy working out what it means to operate in a global…


As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, governments and organizations are busy working out what it means to operate in a global pandemic. Airlines, doctor’s offices, and many other businesses are developing strategies to resume or ramp up operations while minimizing risks to both employees and customers. While PPE is key to protecting people from infection, companies are also looking for ways to detect people who have the virus before they enter the premises. This is where body temperature monitoring devices come in.

How effective are body temperature monitoring devices?

There has been (and continues to be) a great deal of debate over the effectiveness and viability of mandatory temperature checks over the past few months. Because fever is a common COVID-19 symptom, a high temperature could signal that someone has the virus. Countries such as New Zealand and Taiwan, which have been very successful at containing infection rates, have made heavy use of temperature screening, and many other governments have either implemented similar measures or are considering it. Some businesses have adopted it as well, either to screen customers or employees (or both).

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However, this measure is far from reliable when it comes both to identifying COVID-19 and distinguishing COVID-19 from other things that could raise a person’s temperature, from other illnesses to simply working up a sweat. Temperature checks are unable to detect people who have the virus but are asymptomatic, and since not everyone who is symptomatic will have a fever, it can’t reliably identify them either. On top of this, studies disagree on just how common fevers are as a COVID-19 symptom. Some say that they’re present in 80% of cases or more, while others estimate it to be closer to 30%. Because of this, opponents of body temperature monitoring argue that it isn’t effective enough to implement.

Suggested reading: How is COVID-19 Impacting the Adoption of Digital Health Technology?

The flip side of this argument, of course, is that successfully detecting people with COVID-19 even half of the time is still reducing risk and exposure to the virus. Implementing body temperature detection practices and assuming there is no further risk is dangerous, but adopting temperature scanning on top of other safety measures can decrease exposure and slow the spread of the virus.

Does body temperature scanning violate people’s privacy?

Effectiveness isn’t the only concern: privacy comes into question when employers, airlines, and other groups are collecting body temperature data and connecting it to an individual. Privacy experts are concerned about companies storing this sensitive information for an indeterminate length of time, and about the potential for its abuse. While some airlines have declared that they don’t keep any temperature information, some are calling this into question as the data would need to be tracked in order to determine whether and when a passenger is deemed safe to fly. Organizations such as the ACLU in the US also warn that automated temperature scanning could lead to workplaces continually the health of its employees, which has potential for discrimination against workers.

Despite these arguments around privacy and efficacy, body temperature monitoring devices are being increasingly adopted by governments and businesses around the world, even those that were previously hesitant to do so. Countries such as Canada and the US are following the example of other nations that adopted temperature checks earlier in the pandemic, working to implement the checks at key airports for both international and domestic flights. Some individual companies have already been using body temperature scanning independently. And with a COVID-19 vaccine still an indeterminate time in the future, usage of these devices around the world is likely to continue for some time.

Suggested reading: How Are the World’s Top Medical Device Manufacturers Combating COVID-19?

A market on the rise

The global pandemic and rising adoption of temperature scanning will drive growth in the global body temperature monitoring devices market through 2020 and into 2021. This growth will not likely be sustained over the mid-long term, but even after a vaccine has been completed it will take some time for it to be widely distributed, and the world will continue to feel the virus’s effects for possibly more than six months after it has been contained. Manufacturers and vendors will therefore need to monitor the situation and plan carefully to balance the current high demand with its eventual decline. While some organizations may opt to continue using temperature scanners even once the danger from COVID-19 has passed, demand will still be substantially lower than during the height of the pandemic.

In 2020, however, the industry can expect to see growth of almost 10%, with a total increase in market value of $112 million by 2024. More than a third of this growth will come from North America, as Canada and the US in particular implement body temperature monitoring devices in their airports and businesses while looking for ways to reopen safely. Growth is also expected to be high in Asia, where nations continue working to manage the pandemic and flatten the curve.

With so much uncertainty around logistics challenges, reopening strategies, and health risks across countries with varying infection rates, it can be difficult for any company to operate safely and successfully. However, the body temperature monitoring devices market stands to benefit significantly in the short term and into the future as well. By carefully watching market demand, public policies, and the state of the virus, companies can take advantage of emerging opportunities and avoid being caught by surprise as the market changes and evolves.

Learn more about the body temperature monitoring devices market, including insights such as:

  • CAGR of the market during the forecast period 2020-2024
  • Detailed information on factors that will drive body temperature monitoring devices market growth during the next five years
  • Precise estimation of the body temperature monitoring devices market size and its contribution to the parent market
  • Accurate predictions on upcoming trends and changes in consumer behavior
  • The growth of the body temperature monitoring devices industry across Asia, Europe, North America, and ROW
  • A thorough analysis of the market’s competitive landscape and detailed information on vendors
  • Comprehensive details of factors that will challenge the growth of body temperature monitoring devices market vendors

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