The Scout Device’s Reliability: Methodological Issues
Based on the results reported by the authors, the control area measurements were very consistent both within (percent coefficient of variation [%CV] approximately 1%) and between readers (%CV approximately 2%). The average maximum temperature within-reader %CV was 1.14%, and the between-reader %CV was 1.97%. The average minimum temperature had a within-reader %CV of 1.1%, and the between-reader %CV was 2.01%.1 However, these results are not the most appropriate measures to assess reliability. First, to the best of my knowledge, in reliability analysis, an individual approach instead of a group approach should be considered.2–5 Therefore, for quantitative variables, intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) agreement single measure, not the group measure (%CV, or average), should be reported.2–5 Moreover, %CV as one of the estimates to assess reliability cannot cover an individual approach.
As the authors pointed out in their conclusion, clinicians can repeatedly and reliably perform a relative temperature differential analysis using the Scout device to determine an appropriate control area for wound temperature assessment. Such a conclusion should be supported by an individual-based methodology. Otherwise, mismanagement of the patient cannot be avoided.