All the while, the app has been tracking influenza fever patterns and collecting data by ZIP code. Rite Aid Baby Care Baby Thermometer - 1 ct . “So long as my privacy is respected, I don’t feel like this is a tough trade-off,” he said. This article is part of Privacy in the Pandemic, a new Future Tense series. If wealthier, tech-savvy people in the U.S. are spiking fewer fevers, that might not tell us anything about national trends. The animation shifts the dates for atypical illnesses by 18 days. Read more. Once I updated the app, the thermometer/app started working seamlessly again. Facebook and Google are now sharing aggregated user location data to assess people’s adherence to social distancing policies, and in other countries, like India and Israel, citizens are being closely surveilled. Based on this data, it announced Wednesday that it has seen a decreasing trend in atypical flulike temperatures across the country. But in a blog post, the company’s founder, Inder Singh, made that logical leap anyway, saying that the results indicate social distancing is “working.” The goal, a Kinsa spokesperson told me, is not to paint a rosy picture of what’s happening in the U.S., but to identify signals that indicate abnormally high levels of fever in specific regions—and to show people some data that might motivate us to keep up the distancing. That said, he thought Kinsa’s onboarding process for the app didn’t do a great job at explaining how his information would be used. I put the question of using Kinsa thermometers for outbreak surveillance to Cindy Farr, the incident commander for the Missoula City-County Health Department’s Covid-19 response where I live in Montana. that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society. With no coronavirus cure or vaccine, early detection of outbreaks is crucial. * Empower your families and staff to accurately identify illness at its first sign with Kinsa’s award-winning smart thermometer. “Kinsa was one of the first to have something that remotely approached a leading indicator. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 May 2016. Aggregated state-level data provided to Times Opinion by Kinsa showed an overlap between peaks of atypical influenza-like illness and peaks in deaths in a majority of states. An April article in Slate cited a similar complaint from a Kinsa user who had “‘no idea’ how else her family’s data was being used.”. All rights reserved. So far Kinsa’s atypical-fever data has identified Covid-19 outbreak trends early — the company notes that it has pinpointed case spikes in major Covid-19 epicenters on average 14 days before the first Covid-19-related death. During the month of April, transmission was atypically low, corresponding with many states’ social-distancing policies. Of the eight people I spoke with outside the company, all spoke highly of Kinsa’s commitment to public health above all. The company describes this as the rate at which illness is spreading as opposed to the data above, which is simply identifying instances of unusual fevers. Anonymized temperature and location data may seem innocuous compared with the massive surveillance efforts that have taken off in the name of COVID, but health data is still a form of surveillance. Edit: Apparently, there was an update released shortly after I purchased the thermometer. By mid-April, pockets of higher-than-normal transmissions sprang up in Indiana and West Virginia. Covid-19 symptoms are varied, but many patients (between 83 percent and 99 percent, according to the C.D.C.) Having temperature data from families in those communities — often large, multigenerational families living under one roof — is crucial in early outbreak detection. kinsa - Kinsa Inc. is a health technology company headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States. If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker. This tool could help. Causes of Low Readings. The reset steps are different depending on whether or not your Kinsa has a side button: If your Kinsa has a side button and a large round button on top, hold down both buttons for about 10 seconds. We re-imagined the first product you turn to when feeling sick, transforming the ordinary thermometer into a communication system. Drawing on its atypical-illness monitoring, Kinsa recently began calculating a new metric: real-time, atypical disease transmission. But the data also point to spots in Florida, Michigan, Arizona and eastern Texas, where not as many cases have been reported. Can This Thermometer Help America Reopen Safely? What makes these thermometers interesting is that they connect to Kinsa's app via Bluetooth and give you personalized guidance based on your symptoms. Photo illustration by Slate. She told me that users opt in to having their data used for things like the Health Weather Map, though there is an option to opt out of sharing data. I’ve been preoccupied with the question of how to reopen without letting the pandemic spiral further out of control, if that’s even possible. Rating: 20%. Add to Cart. $24.99. Learn More. It may seem like a straightforward question, but it’s hard to work out, because given the serious dearth of COVID-19 testing, data sets that rely on deaths or confirmed cases are incomplete—they leave out asymptomatic carriers and people who experience mild symptoms but aren’t eligible for testing. Kinsa, a smart thermometer company, offers a side door to tracking the virus—or at least symptoms related to it. The company has roughly 1.5 million thermometers in the field. Even a fingerprint will make the thermometer read low. The app allows users to keep a record of their temperature and list their symptoms. The company has also created the HealthWeather map, a public, countrywide map that tracks atypical-fever spikes and influenza-like illness at the county level. When the dates are shifted, the tight overlap between illnesses and deaths becomes even clearer. The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. Inder Singh says he has incorporated one into a helpful early-detection system. Mr. Singh told me that he believes that’s enough for a reliable national portrait but that it leaves substantial holes in precision for many counties. I'll sleep better tonight, but I am really unhappy with the Kinsa smart thermometer. Product not as pictured, I have received Kinsa Smart Stick thermometer and not Kinsa Smart Ear thermometer shown on the picture. The company has a cache of users’ body temperature data, which it has begun to examine for trends. And while we’re all very focused on coronavirus at the moment, there are still plenty of other reasons people might develop a fever, like the flu. And without preventive drugs or a vaccine, catching viral outbreaks early is critical. Even assuming every single user provided data used in Kinsa’s map and none have opted out of sharing their data, that’s 0.6 percent of the stay-at-home population. That lag between first symptoms and a health care provider visit can make tracing the virus and modeling trends difficult — it’s reactive, not proactive. Health Weather Map” with data broken down by county, accessible to anyone online. The company started in 2012 and the thermometer got F.D.A. Yes. Major news outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe have reported that Kinsa’s data demonstrates the spread of COVID might be slowing. What we need is an early warning system. Based on the CVS thermometer, our baby never even had a fever! Kinsa also cited Missouri and Utah as states where daily case counts will climb, though absolute case numbers may not look out of control. is a partnership of approval in 2014. Add to Cart. If we could detect irregular virus transmission at the earliest onset of symptoms, public health departments could act fast to encourage people to isolate or advise nonessential businesses to shut back down. Note: This map shows the change in the effective reproductive rate (Rt), which is the average number of infections resulting from one infected person. That sample is also drawn from the pool of people who have bought this particular smart thermometer. Still high, but not nearly as worrying, and not outside what we expect of my fevers. It Took Only a Few Hours of Georgia Voting for Trump Supporters to Find a New Conspiracy Theory, blog post Kinsa recently released on their demographics. 1.0 out of 5 stars Item in picture is not what arrives. As of Monday morning, Nehru said, Kinsa data showed that, across the country, fever incidence is lower than expected for this time of year, about 1.5 to 2 percent of the population compared to 3 percent in a typical year, a signal that social distancing is working. As a result, it has opened up sizable portions of its economy — in my figuring, a perfect candidate for an advance-warning system. All the while, the app has been tracking influenza fever patterns and collecting data by ZIP code. But it didn’t last. The company manufactures smart thermometers, currently producing a smart stick thermometer, smart ear thermometer and a Sesame Street branded smart ear thermometer. The Kinsa user I spoke with didn’t remember opting in to this map or getting email communication about it, either. To Kinsa’s credit, the company has included on its FAQ site the caveat that its map does not show COVID-19 infections. Item sent back for refund. People with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have reported a range of symptoms; many don’t exhibit fevers at all. Here are some tips. Ear Thermometer Troubleshooting. Thermometer data is a leading indicator because it is usually provided at the onset of symptoms. I asked a Kinsa spokesperson about how the Health Weather Map was rolled out, and whether users were specifically asked to opt in. 1. $5.49. But Ms. Farr wasn’t so sure. The company has a unique perspective on the coronavirus; Kinsa can identify atypical-fever trends that are likely to be Covid-19 cases. Now that much of the United States has been “sheltering in place” for weeks, it’s natural to wonder whether our collective efforts are working. *Survey conducted by Kinsa across 1,018 schools. But that data isn’t always automated or shared efficiently. As the pandemic rages on, it’s worth taking a step back and asking what data users are giving up in the name of COVID, and whether surveillance is worth it. Early warning signals that could save lives and keep hospitals from reaching capacity are a trade-off that seems far easier to stomach than, say, giving up one’s data to get better-targeted online ads. These are the daily deaths reported in New York in March and early April. Future Tense The company says its program has been shown to help schools improve attendance, and has yielded years of real-time data on fever rates to help compare to official estimates and develop its models. Kinsa is also working on a feature on their app that will help you track illnesses that are plaguing your child’s school and friends – a great way to help understand any symptoms your own child may develop. The Kinsa Ear Thermometer is unlike any thermometer out there. Do not expose the thermometer to temperature extremes: (below -13 °F / -25 °C or over 131 °F / 55 °C) or excessive humidity (>95% RH). experience a fever as an early symptom. “I don’t want to sell data to some fly-by-night snake oil salesmen,” Mr. Singh told me. But recent investigations have revealed that the individual records that constitute this aggregate data can be compromised, and even anonymized location data can be traced back to individuals with surprising accuracy. Thousands of schools use Kinsa to catch illness trends early and take action to stop the spread, keeping students and employees safe. There are a few ways this could happen: a National Syndromic Surveillance Program like the one run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can theoretically track symptoms reported in emergency room patients. But even in a crisis, privacy matters, and sharing personal data—even in aggregate—should merit close scrutiny. Kinsa’s biggest limiting factor right now is sample size. A smart thermometer won’t save us from ourselves. It’s a warning siren, not a detailed accounting of what has happened. It is a commonly used metric to understand whether a virus is growing or under control. Two million families use the Kinsa thermometer and app to detect illness and get guidance on the care and treatment to get better faster. Suddenly, the Kinsa thermometer became one of the first real-time data sources at the beginning of the pandemic to prove social distancing was effective. The 200 schools that are accepted into Kinsa’s FLUency School Health Program will receive one (1) Kinsa Smart Thermometer for every family and staff member in the school. What makes these thermometers interesting is that they connect to Kinsa's app via Bluetooth and give you personalized guidance based on your symptoms. In my conversations with Mr. Singh, he stressed repeatedly that Kinsa’s user profile information and granular data like GPS location are not made available to third parties (though the company earns revenue licensing ZIP code-level fever data to companies like Clorox for advertising purposes). On Top of Everything Else, Wednesday Was Also the Deadliest Day of the Pandemic. Kinsa, a smart thermometer company, offers a side door to tracking the virus—or at least symptoms related to it. “But a week or so later, we saw cases rise.”. Add to Cart. Here are the daily numbers of sick people reported using Kinsa’s thermometers. And the company pointed to the Midwest as an area to watch closely. Show per page. Kinsa QuickCare thermometer can be used without the Kinsa smartphone app but the app is required for the initial set up and for smart features Pediatrician-recommended and FDA-cleared for adults, kids, toddlers & babies (even newborns!) Pennsylvania, too, “might see an uptick.”. “When you’re dealing with the beginning of a novel pandemic, you have no data — you’re the guy in the desert trying to find a tiny sip of water and there it is,” Mr. Slavitt told me. He showed them a prelaunch version of the HealthWeather map, which showed significant atypical fevers in Florida and other places. Kinsa smart thermometer uses app to note symptoms, curb disease ... Kinsa’s approach has the advantage of not working in a vacuum, Singh said. And then there are the smart thermometers. (A Kinsa spokesperson was clear about this as well.). Products are not redeemable for cash or transferable. 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