How are we different?
In the year 2000 Carol Chandler, Dr. of Oriental Medicine, purchased her first infrared camera for her practice, which was a basic low-definition "scanner" the size of a large cereal box, she had to manually focus and took 10 seconds to scan the image. Software was so basic that it did little more than capture and save images. She had to set up the camera with the computer in front of the patient, who had no chance of privacy with their clothes off. Then she had to complete the questionnaires on line and send the images via email to be interpreted, sometimes taking hours.
She would dream about what it would look like to design a smaller infrared system that would view the person in real time on the computer, capture images instantly, focus automatically, and zoom the image in and out. Software would offer on-screen tips, guidance for positioning, multiple color palettes, multiple options for printing, side-by-side comparative images, temperature measurement tools, automatic report generation and even instant uploading for interpretation. In her wildest dream she imagined a way to demonstrate to her patients the correlation of their anatomy to the images on the screen. Finally, she imagined a way to automatically move the camera so she could offer the patient complete privacy.
It seemed like an impossible wish list. Such a system would represent an enormous leap beyond existing Infrared systems at the time, which were all unimaginative, cumbersome, time consuming and difficult to use. Every element of this hypothetical system, from the high-resolution camera itself, the software and the automated camera stand, would require vision, engineering expertise, extensive software development and FDA Registration. However, it would be exciting and challenging to bring the Medical Infrared Technology to a new level of sophistication and understanding.
It would have to be designed from scratch with leading edge technology, but Carol wanted to move ahead with such a project. Five years later, Carol had designed, developed and presented to the Medical Infrared market the most advanced and imaginative and patented Medical Infrared system, years ahead of any other system available, at similar or lower cost to the buyer.
She, her clients and the industry will never have to look back; the advantages are overwhelming to the user and add significantly to the patient's experience.
Playing the innovative rebel, Carol's journey is the classic tale of building a better mouse trap. Medical Thermography has now become much easier to use and a more visually creative process for the thermographer, the doctor and the patient. But Carol knows she will someday leave medical infrared imaging far better than she found it.
It might seem surprising that lower resolution with basic capture-save software and lack of privacy continue to be accepted, even at the same cost. Innovation takes time to be accepted. Can you take images with a low-resolution infrared camera with basic decade-old software? Sure. Should you be embarrassed that your clients have not received the best option available? Yes, you should.