More than bidets and seat warmers
In your pocket, you likely have a smartphone. Perhaps on your wrist, even a smartwatch. Out of all the smart devices that people own, a smart toilet is not one you would expect to make the list. When hearing the term “smart toilet”, many think of bidets, the inviting comfort of seat warmers, auto-flushing, and added night lights for midnight escapades. Perhaps the toilet even has a built-in speaker set to your favorite playlist. Toilet technology has come a long way since its inception. Though seat warmers, bidets, and Bluetooth connectivity are all nice-to-have features, the potential for smart toilets has grown beyond simple amenities. Smart toilets are now becoming the new frontier for in-home healthcare monitoring: medical devices allowing patients and doctors to gather valuable health insights in the comfort of their home.
Analyzing your internal health parameters as well as the contents exiting the body, smart toilets can capture information that would otherwise be difficult to consistently track. Many of these smart toilets are, or plan to be, FDA-cleared medical devices. As an FDA-cleared device, these toilets and toilet seats are required to pass certain safety and effectiveness requirements prior to going to market. Depending on what it measures, some FDA-cleared smart toilets are in the same class of medical devices as blood pressure cuffs and catheters, bringing medical grade equipment into the easily accessible chambers of your bathroom.
So why a toilet seat?
For some, the bathroom is simply a place to relieve oneself, wash your hands, brush your teeth, and perhaps floss. For others, it is a place of refuge, a sanctuary where you can scroll through the ever flowing rivers of social media content or escape your children in temporary peace. No matter the level of importance placed on the porcelain throne, the toilet is part of everyday routine.
But why a toilet seat? When it comes to healthcare, specifically in-home health monitoring, it is not realistic for patients to visit the doctor’s office every day or weekly to record their vital signs. Appointments can span over periods of months or years between check-ups. Having patients record their own vital signs at home can be burdensome, not to mention the likelihood of them using their equipment incorrectly. Additionally, these kinds of medical devices often require consistent skin contact. In terms of ease-of-use, the toilet is a surprisingly convenient site that satisfies all of the criteria.
Some devices, such as smartphones and watches, are capable of recording health data. However, being able to collect data and actually collecting it are two different things. A major issue with other devices is patient adherence. It is difficult for people to make significant adjustments to their daily routine and lifestyle, and oftentimes people refuse, forget, or ignore prescribed regimens. Having to remember to wear a watch or place your finger on a phone sensor, though far from arduous tasks, aren’t activities that patients always keep up with. Data is being missed, resulting in less information to identify trends and take action. Toilets, on the other hand, are used by everyone on a daily basis regardless of a person’s medical needs. Once the toilet seat is set up, patients no longer need to make adjustments to their routines. Just sit back and relax while the sensors do their work. This leads to better adherence and more consistent data collection. With better patient adherence, patients and doctors are able to look at trends over time, leading to better, more actionable data.
As technology improves, smart toilets could become the new doctor’s office. Moving the center of care to your home increases accessibility to healthcare and helps improve the quality of health data. Instead of a single check-up once a year, people could check themselves on a daily or weekly basis without a second thought. Sitting on the toilet lets people avoid all the hassle of scheduling appointments, finding parking spaces, and spending hours in waiting rooms. What was once something you had to shift your schedule around for can now be effortlessly integrated into it. In the future, your toilet could be the solution for many healthcare needs.
The Heart Seat™
The Heart Seat is a medical device that will calculate a person’s heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygenation utilizing three sensors. With this technology, patients and doctors will be able to track and monitor chronic conditions, aiming to be the only FDA-cleared smart toilet seat focused on heart health monitoring. Other smart toilets and seats currently look at the body’s waste as opposed to the signals in the body itself. The three sensors embedded in the Heart Seat are:
The Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG)
The Electrocardiogram (referred to both as an ECG or EKG) acts as any typical EKG would. The sensor records the electrical activity of the heart through shifts in the electrical signals produced by the heart’s muscles.
The Photoplethysmogram (PPG)
The Photoplethysmogram (PPG) measures the change in red and infrared light absorption to determine blood oxygenation. The lights are sent through the thigh and reflected back to the sensor.
The Ballistocardiogram (BCG)
The Ballistocardiogram (BCG) is a hyper-sensitive weight sensor that looks at the force exerted through mechanical activity from the heart. Looking at the subtle shifts in apparent body weight, the sensor, combined with signals from the other sensors, is able to calculate a user’s blood pressure.
Are you interested in learning more about The Heart Seat? Contact us here or visit our Research page for information on ongoing clinical research at Casana.
Disclaimer: All of the material provided above is for informational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Casana does not endorse any of the products or services mentioned in this post.