This Toilet Won't Break Your Heart

This post is about heart health. Every year, there are over a million new diagnoses of congestive heart failure. Many of those new cases are discovered because the person has a heart attack. There is currently a massive focus on strategies to reduce the number of heart attack patients who have to be re-hospitalized. Typically, at least one in four heart attack patients end up back in the hospital within 30 days. Almost half are re-admitted within 90 days.

Hospitals and doctors have a financial incentive to lower re-admissions. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services are actually penalizing hospitals with high re-admission rates.

The biggest challenge to this goal is the difficulty in constantly monitoring patient’s heart health outside of a hospital.

Enter the toilet! (Don’t run into the bathroom please, just keep reading about this very cool toilet seat that monitors cardio-vascular health).

The toilet seat was developed at The Rochester Institute of Technology by a team led by engineer Nicholas Conn. The seat has multiple sensors that, together, monitor all of these:

  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Body weight
  • Level of oxygen in the blood
  • Volume of blood moved with each heartbeat (called “stroke volume.”)

There’s a sophisticated set of algorithms that analyze all the data. Eventually, the system will be able to send notifications of the data to doctors.

With these seats in place, researchers believe there will be better health outcomes and financial savings. Turns out, the cost of giving patients these toilet seats is less than half the cost of financial penalties should they be re-admitted.

In this video, Nicholas Conn shows some of the features of this smart seat. He’s probably the smartest person with two lip rings that I have ever seen…

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