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Public Health Rep. 1998 May-Jun;113(3):268-72.

The use of infrared ear thermometers in pediatric and family practice offices.

Author information

1
Office of Surveillance and Biometrics, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. bgs@cdrh.fda.gov

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the use of infrared (IR) ear thermometers in pediatric and family practice offices.

METHODS:

The authors mailed a questionnaire to 350 randomly selected members of the American Academy of Pediatrics and to 355 randomly selected members of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

RESULTS:

Of respondents in clinical practice, 78% had used IR ear thermometers at least once in the past; 65% of pediatricians and 64% of family practice physicians were current users. Seventeen percent of pediatric offices and 18% of family practice offices that had used IR ear thermometers had discontinued use, most citing inaccuracy or lack of staff trust in the device. Pediatric offices were less likely than family practice offices to use the device in well neonates and sick neonates and more likely to use it in sick children. Advantages cited included rapid readings, ease of use, and accuracy. Seventy-five percent of current users reported at least one problem, including low readings and lack of staff trust.

CONCLUSIONS:

IR ear thermometers are widely used in pediatric and family practice offices. Some offices limit use of these devices to older children and adults, and most of the offices surveyed report using other devices as a check on the accuracy of IR thermometers. Statements by professional organizations that provide user guidelines and establish appropriate age cut-offs would be helpful.

PMID:
9633875
PMCID:
PMC1308681
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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