New Technology Allows Parents to Skip the Thermometer

JANUARY 16, 2018
Since becoming a new father, I have been dreading when my child will get sick. There have been a few times where I have had to take a rectal temperature, and I have been wondering if there has to be a better way. Between temporal, tympanic, and oral thermometers, I was intrigued by the growth of so-called wearable thermometers that promised the ability to measure body temperature in real-time and track the data via your smartphone.
 
The essential premise of these devices is that 1) they have some attachable sensor that goes on the skin (usually under the child or infants underarm/side of body) and 2) connect to an app on the smartphone that 3) will send alerts to the parent or caregiver when specific temperatures or vitals are reached. Sounds easy enough. A feature I like is that they also integrate when you give medications to see on a chart how much treatment (e.g., APAP) reduces the temperature and when it may start rising again.
 
So what companies offer such services? Several came about during my searches, that are now on sale at multiple vendors (usually stores targeted towards tech gadgets or child goods and online.)

sells their Fever Scout, which is interesting in that it is a rechargeable sensor.1 The adhesives that attach can be replaced after a few uses (which makes sense as with a kid with a fever you'd expect some extra sweat that would make these things fall off shortly). It was approved by the FDA last year and sells for about $60 and the adhesives (8-pack) for about $8. This one stands out to me due to the rechargeable feature that should last up to a week per charge. 
 
Infanttech sells their that is also similar to the Fever Scout, but you need to replace the battery when it runs out.2 The adhesives also need to be replaced after 24-hrs of use. It costs about $70 at this time from most vendors. Another product similar to the Smarttemp is made by FridaBaby called the , also $70.3 Both of these devices seem a little thicker compared to other adhesive thermometers, which may be the only thing that stands out—due to the fact they are a bit older and have larger sensors is my guess.
 
Lastly, there is , which is the thinnest sensor I have come across and seems more flexible compared to the other devices.4 My biggest concern, as with most adhesives, is that a fussy infant would cause them to fall off if too large. As such, this one seems more friendly for smaller infants, but probably the only thing that limits its desirability is that each sensor only lasts for 24-hrs then needs to be replaced, and as such one-time use. Costing $20 per patch, this could be a bit of a money sink, since a sick child could take several days to get better and need constant monitoring.
 
Overall, I plan on trying a few of these and seeing what I like more or less when my kid (inevitably) gets sick. One thing that would be more unique, though probably not possible at this time, is a way to remotely monitor the temperature from a far distance, such as at work. As it stands, the reach via Bluetooth with these devices is only up to a few yards, which is fine for use at home, but bad if I wanted to see the data otherwise. I would be very interested, that if in sometime in the future, that children's medications for fever would come with something like Temp Traq attached as a package. I could see a company using this as a selling point for their products and at a reasonable price for parents.

References
  1. VivaLnk. http://vivalnk.com/. Accessed January 15, 2018.
  2. Intanttech. https://infanttech.com/product/smarttemp/. Accessed January 15, 2018.
  3. FridaBaby. www.fridababy.com/product/feverfrida/. Accessed January 15, 2018.
  4. Temp Traq. www.temptraq.com/Home. Accessed January 15, 2018.


Timothy Aungst, PharmD
Timothy Dy Aungst, PharmD, is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at MCPHS University. He graduated from Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy and completed a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at St. Luke's University Hospital, and then a Clinical Geriatric Fellowship at MCPHS University. He is passionate about the rise of technology in health care and its application to pharmacy. He has published primarily on the role of mobile technology and mHealth, and made multiple national and international presentations on those topics. He blogs at TheDigitalApothecary.com, and you can find him on Twitter @TDAungst.
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