The range of medical peripherals available for the iPhone is growing rapidly. We have IBGStar for blood glucose measurements, AliveCor for heart rhythm checks, and many more. Add to that list ThermoDock.
Many healthcare providers will be familiar with the temporal artery probe used in many hospitals, which use infrared technology to measure body temperature. These devices are especially useful for intubated patients and children; frankly, they are probably more comfortable for most patients than holding a thermometer in their mouths (let alone some of the other places temperature is measured).
ThermoDock, developed by German device maker Medisana, goes one step further (or perhaps one step back) and measures body temperature without even touching the patient. Using a small peripheral for the iPhone or iPad, ThermoDock uses similar infrared technology to the temporal artery probe to calculate body temperature.
It is part of a suite of devices made for the iPhone and iPad including blood glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors, and weight scales that can already be purchased in the United States. But there are some important factors to consider before you rush out to get one or suggest it to your patients.
According to the technical specifications supplied by Medisana, ThermoDock can measure body temperature to an accuracy of +/- 0.2-0.3 degrees celsius in about 4 seconds. They also cite that the “clinical repeatability” as 0.19 degrees celsius. To do all of this, the device is powered by the connected iPhone or iPad.
The app collects and displays data in the free VitalDoc app which can store data, display trends, and transmit information via email.
Medisana also makes several other products for iOS devices including the CardioDock, GlucoDock, and the inexplicably named Targetscale Body Analysis Scale with Target Function. Data from all of these devices is collected and displayed in the VitalDock app.
ThermoDock is available throughFirebox, where it can be purchased for $96 plus tax and shipping. Other Medisana products can be purchased here as well – the Targetscale goes for about $200 plus tax and shipping.
However, its unclear what sort of clinical testing the device has actually undergone. It has not yet received FDA approval. The device does have CE certification (CD 0483) for sale in Europe. The same appears to be true of the other devices marketed by Medisana. Its not entirely clear whether FDA clearance is something that Medisana is pursuing though other infrared thermometers have certainly sought 510(k) clearance in the past.
Nonetheless, this device certainly continues the march towards medical technology that embraces form as much as it does function.