Restoring confidence in entering public indoor spaces is a critical step in restoring lives and livelihoods to normality. New tools and processes to reassure the public need to be trustworthy and scalable.
Entry health screening in hospitals, offices, public buildings, airports and more will become the norm to ensure collective health. Tools that enable mass screening on a personalised basis need to be accurate, data driven and swift so that those who may be ill can be referred to a medical professional and the remainder are not delayed.
How and where to measure?
Studies have shown that monitoring key vital signs together, including temperature, respiration and heart rate can predict if a patient has influenza with 93% accuracy, compared to just doing temperature screening which only has a 65% correlation.
How and where you measure those vital signs, specifically temperature, also makes a significant difference to accuracy. Elenium VITALS is able to target the correct area by defining where the blood vessels are and evaluating temperature across the key points. Typically the areas of interest are the forehead, tear ducts and temples, noted in the Washington Post the as the most accurate positions to indicate fever. Noting that the blood supply to the forehead differs from person to person.
Elenium’s temperature sensing is achieved using a near-infrared camera and a thermal sensor. The camera output determines the position of a person’s forehead in a frame. The location is then mapped and provided to the thermal sensor.
This focuses on the most appropriate area on an individual’s face to ascertain temperature. It minimizes the risk of measuring the temperature from a different person and is not impacted by a foreign object such as a cup of coffee or mask.
The power of three
Measuring temperature alone gives an indication of illness in less than two thirds of cases. In order to achieve an accurate picture, Elenium VITALS evaluates body temperature, heart rate and respiration rate simultaneously.
Respiration is measured by using a thermal image to detect nasal region temperature changes associated with breathing. During exhalation, warm air from inside the lungs is released and increasing the temperature in the nasal region, whereas during inhalation, cool air from the external environment is breathed in, lowering the temperature. The respiration signal can be obtained by using a thermal sensor and capturing a time series of a person as they breath in and out.
While normal heart rates vary, this information can be used in conjunction with other data points to drive a decision matrix model. The heart rate measurement is facilitated by using a near-infrared camera and a high resolution RGB camera. These cameras are able to detect the oxygenated haemoglobin in the blood flowing through vessels as it absorbs light from a specific wavelength. As a result, the reflected light changes according to variation in blood flow volume. The pulse signal is the output that is obtained by continuing to measure reflected light.
This triage approach can be further enhanced with the inclusion of health or travel related questions, without requiring touch to respond, enhancing the range of data for the decision matrix. The data combined can provide an indication of possible illness allowing for referral to an agent or virtual medical professional for further actions and decision via video conference with the individual through the self-service device or in a more discreet location.
The right to privacy
The focus on health cannot come at the expense of privacy or dignity. Elenium VITALs operates on an automated basis evaluating the vitals of people individually as part of the overall access process. Responses are provided directly via the solution or escalating to a virtual medical professional or directing the person to a more private space for medical evaluation. Elenium VITALs does not retain any of the personal data of any screened individuals.
Reassure and restart
A recent survey by McKinsey on consumer sentiment in the new normal shows that consumers remain hesitant to return to in-person public activities such as visiting shopping malls or undertaking domestic travel. In contrast loneliness and mental health concerns are on the rise, the sooner we can reassure the public with trustworthy processes and clear policies, the sooner we can reconnect and restart the new normal.