A toilet seat that monitors individuals with congestive heart failure may be the next home accessory patients are taking home from the hospital.
Every year, 1 million new cases of congestive heart failure are diagnosed, and what better way to monitor patients consistently than with a toilet seat?
This toilet seat cardiovascular monitoring system was created by researchers from Rochester Institute of Technology. The team working on the project hopes to lower hospital readmission rates of patients with congestive heart failure. The seat could be purchased by hospitals who would offer it to heart failure patients after discharge.
The monitoring toilet seats measure the electrical and mechanical activity of the heart, and can also monitor heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygenation levels, the patient’s weight, and stoke volume—which indicates the amount of blood being pumped out of the heart per every beat. After obtaining this information, algorithms analyze the data, and once fully developed, will alert practitioners of a deteriorating condition. A report would be sent to a cardiologist who would determine if preventative action was necessary.
The toilet seats will start the FDA clearance process by the researchers’ Heart Health Intelligence company.
Nicholas Conn, a postdoctoral fellow at RIT, and founder and CEO of Heart Health Intelligence, helped develop the toilet seats and believes this will greatly impact individuals with congestive heart failure.
“Typically, within 30 days of hospital discharge, 25 percent of patients with congestive heart failure are readmitted,” says Conn. “After 90 days of hospital discharge, 45 percent of patients are readmitted. And the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is penalizing hospitals for readmitting patients for heart failure.”
Conn explained the penalty alone for readmitting 150 patients is approximately $500,000 annually. In response, the cost of providing 150 patients with the team’s monitoring toilet seats from HHI is $200,000. He says hospitals could save more than double their initial investment within the year.
Conn says the system will pick up deteriorating conditions even before the patient realizes it might pose as a symptom. With rapid data analysis, he believes interventions can be initiated quite quickly and promote minor changes, such as a drug change or short office visit, instead of readmission to the hospital.
Recently this year, HHI joined RIT’s Venture Creations business incubator and hopes to move this product into the production phase. The team is currently writing grants for additional funding and networking, and human-subject testing and pre-clinical studies are in the works. Conn and his team hope to approve the product with the FDA and make this accessible worldwide.