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Digital floor scales

Dr Gill Jenkins gives her verdict after trying out this new piece of equipment

Dr Gill Jenkins gives her verdict after trying out this new piece of equipment

The Seca 862 is a flatbed electronic scale with its large LCD display unit (215mm x 110mm) on a cable for remote viewing. This can be wall mounted or placed on a surface, allowing the GP to read from their desk. It also has a BMI function, although it doesn't incorporate, or link to, any form of height measure, which has to be input separately.

Ease of use

The scale has to be set up and calibrated on a flat surface with adjustable feet, and then should not be disturbed – a bit of a nuisance if, like me, you hot-desk, or if the cleaner is thorough about vacuuming under everything.

Innovation

The electronic features such as data storage and the limit value function, designed to warn of invisible losses of fluid or high turnover of fluid during activity, are more suitable for physical therapy and ortho-paedic applications than a GP surgery.

Usefulness

The BMI calculation should have been simple but, with a busy surgery, I eventually found it easier to simply read the weight, albeit rather lazily from my seated position as the patients leapt on and off. I recorded this on my computer, as I had to anyway, clicking on my computer's BMI function for that to automatically be registered in their notes.

Value for money

At around the £385 mark before VAT, the scales are not exactly cheap compared to around £55 for a standard medical scale or £300 for a mechanical column scale.

Overall impression

For most simple GP work, all you need is a simple scale. The distant readout is good for couch potato GPs who don't want to get up to read a scale or want to avoid getting too close to their patients, but for the rest of us I think it is a bit of a luxury.

Gill Jenkins is a part-time salaried GP in Bristol and a director of her local out-of-hours service


The equipment

Seca 862 digital floor scales with cable remote control. Catalogue price £385 plus VAT.


Manufacturer's comment The £385 model 862 is not comparable to a £55 'standard medical scale' as these units are manufactured to a different classification of approved scales, resulting in one being 10 times more precise than the other, not to mention the additional features.

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