Black patients less likely to receive accurate forehead temperature checks

A study found Black patients were 26% less likely to receive an accurate reading with a forehead thermometer compared with an oral thermometer. White patients experienced no significant differences, the authors stated in a JAMA research letter. Missing fevers could result in delays in receiving antibiotics and medical care. The retrospective study evaluated data from 2014 to 2021 for about 2,000 Black patients and 2,000 white patients who had their temperatures taken by forehead and oral thermometers within a short time span on their first day in the hospital. Forehead thermometers rely on infrared radiation, which can be affected by how much light, radiation and heat the skin releases. The authors noted the errors could be the result of not scanning patients’ foreheads properly. (The Hill article, 9/8/22)