Temperature Checking: Clinical Diagnostic or Security Weapon

Temperature checking or fever screening is being rolled out by many organisations around the world in the wake of COVID-19. Is it a bluff or an essential diagnostic tool?

News.com.au reports that a number of retail outlets have started using security guards to conduct temperature checking on all customers. Security guards normal duties are to check bags, protect staff against violence and deter shoplifters, now they are being equipped with apparent medical devices.


James Breko, from inner city Sydney, told news.com.au he went to a CBD Chemist where a security guard temperature tested him.

However, his result came out at a very chilly 34.3C. Far from a fever that would mean he had mild hypothermia, a condition he was pretty confident he wasn’t suffering from.

…“The second time I went in the scanner broke.”


Setting up fever and health screening is a reliable way to increase protection for specific sites, it is used in airports, essential service sites, government buildings and workplaces. Setting up the operation takes careful planning and management, it’s a medical diagnostic tool that is normally used in hospitals and medical centres.

We recommend this type of medical screening is conduced by trained and experienced clinical staff.

Clinical staff using medical diagnostics should be trained in their use, how to apply the readings in the wider clinical picture and also be trained in healthcare standards of infection control.

Placing your hand and the device within 3cm of people’s face creates a risk of spreading infection if the appropriate controls are not in place.

The use of TGA approved and hospital grade thermometers is essential. Be careful of low quality generic brand thermometers starting to flood the Australian market. Many cheap devices are appearing on the Australian market and making claims of being TGA Registered.

How to ensure your service is using a reliable medical grade thermometer?

Ensure your service is using trusted healthcare brands normally used in hospital settings such as Welch Allyn.Don’t allow generic or unknown brands be used. Be cautious of brands that have historically been associated with non-medical products
Make sure the thermometers are procured from healthcare suppliersAvoid products purchased from retailers or sellers that normally sell other products like kitchen appliances
Look for devices that have been registered with the TGA for a long time (at least prior to COVID-19)Avoid devices that are not TGA registered. Use caution with products that have been recently TGA registered


Colbrow Medics deploys a managed Virus Fever Screen (VFS) service. We use our team of experienced clinicians, hospital grade thermometers (normally used in triage) and have a robust clinical governance and management framework for our clinical operations. Our services are protected by our $20mil Medical Malpractice Insurance policy.