You might want to sit down for this: Researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology have raised the lowly toilet seat to the status of a diagnostic tool for people suffering congestive heart failure.
The toilet seats measure electrical and mechanical activity within the heart, monitoring heart rate as well as blood pressure and oxygenation.
It also measures the patient’s weight and stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped out of the heart at every beat).
The device analyzes the data and sends reports to cardiologists so they can decide on further treatment.
The aim of the smart seat: to cut back on the number of patients readmitted to the hospital by heading off problems before they become acute.
“Typically, within 30 days of hospital discharge, 25% of patients with congestive heart failure are readmitted,” said HHI CEO Nicholas Conn in a press release. “After 90 days of hospital discharge, 45% of patients are readmitted. And the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is penalizing hospitals for readmitting patients for heart failure.”
Conn pointed out that just the penalties for readmitting 150 patients is about $500,000 per year. By contrast, the total cost of providing 150 patients with monitored toilet seats would be $200,000.
Conn told Considerable that HHI plans to begin selling its smart toilet seats in the middle of 2021. And while its initial market will be hospital systems, he said, “it is very possible that we expand our offerings for individual purchase.”