Sitting is the new lookout thanks to the toilet seat device

Rochester, NY-based healthcare technology company Casana is investigating what could be the ultimate in passive monitoring technology, a toilet seat that collects health data and vital signs. The company’s “The Heart Seat” is a connected device that collects heart rate, blood oxygen level (SpO2), ECG, cardiac output and blood pressure while the patient is seated on the chair. toilet seat. The device is intended for prescription and is not yet approved by the FDA.

Currently, the device is being studied in collaboration with the Precision Health Research Center at the University of Florida in villages. The study aims to determine whether the toilet seat results in improved adherence in the elderly compared to traditional home monitoring tools and to solicit feedback from patients and providers. Successful home monitoring could alert a doctor of a health problem before the situation becomes an emergency, and it could help a patient manage chronic illness or even stay on top of general goals like weight management. .

The Heart Seat is Casana’s first product and is the result of research from the Rochester Institute of Technology, called RIT. Researchers at RIT designed the toilet seat to monitor heart patients for signs of early illness and thus reduce hospital readmissions. Casana was renamed to its old name, Heart Health Intelligence, in 2021.

Grip as a baseline

Olivia Lew, Commercial Director of Casana, explained that the company sees grip as the base of a triangle, where other elements are built on that foundation. “We believe the unique form factor of being a toilet seat can help move the needle across the grip front, which provides more reliable data, and then ensures the data is actionable and relevant. “Lew said. “Then the ultimate is that all of these elements together lead to better results. “

Membership can be a stumbling block for remote patient monitoring for a number of reasons, including difficulty using a device and its technology, or not remembering to use the device. . A smartwatch may be left on a dresser, or a home device may require technical knowledge. Age can also be a differentiator; patients 65 and older did not grow up with technology and may find device management intimidating.

“When you ask someone who deals with multi-comorbid conditions to learn a new technology and then actively remember to do their blood pressure test or stand on a scale every day, you may whether they don’t want to do it or have certain challenges in their ability to do it when with the toilet seat all they have to do is go to the toilet, ”said Carla VandeWeerd , PhD, director of the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute at UF PHRC, who is leading the study. “As long as we are in a 90 second sitting position, we are able to measure vital signs.” The toilet seat contains sensors that can capture data indicating fluid retention due to heart disease and abnormal blood pressure or heart rate.

Passive health surveillance

As part of the ongoing study, The Heart Seat was installed by a technician, replacing a regular toilet seat for the 50 older patients who plan to participate. The toilet seat technology collects data on the vital signs of a targeted patient, which can be distinguished from other household members by biometric data such as weight. With regular monitoring information, a complete picture can be created of a patient’s health, and this data can be monitored for any changes that might warrant concern.

Image courtesy of Casana

In addition, the data reports are personalized. The parameters are defined on an individual basis; During the initial setup of a device, the patient and their physician set thresholds. These can also include alerts for orange level events like slow weight gain or red level events like certain heart rate changes.

“Creating the data according to their preferences and giving people control over their preferences is essential,” explained Lew. “The data stream would be returned to the physician based on thresholds defined by the healthcare team and the patient together.” Thresholds may appear to be completely different from patient to patient. Lew also explained that the patient and caregiver can choose their level of involvement, from receiving reports to not having data at all, leaving the management entirely to the physician. The toilet seat device purposely has no display panel to allow no interaction, Lew said. “A lot of companies offer a universal monitoring device, but a lot of patients don’t want to see their data,” Lew added.

Make sure the data is relevant

Casana is also clear that their goal is not just to collect data, but to provide useful and actionable information to practitioners. “The goal is not to bombard healthcare providers with tons of data information points when they are already dealing with a lot of different things, but to be able to successfully identify the noise. signal, ”VandeWeerd said. “They can be given a summary sheet when the patient comes for her annual appointment: Here is Ms. Jones’ blood pressure tracking and weight over the past month, but not being bombarded with information every minute.”

The current pilot study will include 6 weeks of use of The Heart Seat, followed by an additional 6 weeks with a traditional monitoring device, and will conclude with the collection of responses on ease of use and customer preferences. After this pilot study, and possibly adjusting the design based on feedback, the company will begin to study the effectiveness of the toilet seat.

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