The toilet seat is a spy

Private eyes, they’re watching you.

There’s enormous potential benefit like this smart toilet seat that collects a number of physiological measurements each time you sit down. This data can help detect heart disease early, which is a tremendously good thing.

But this is the United States, and there’s a problem. Who gets the data? It’s one thing to have this data going to your physician where problematic readings can be flagged for patient follow-up. It’s fine if the data is staying with you and alerting you when you should go see your doctor.

But we know it won’t work that way. You’ve got the manufacturer (who will probably look for ways to monetize this pile of health data they’re accumulating) and there’s the insurer, who will want in on this (perhaps subsidizing said toilet seat). And since most of us in the US get our health care through an insurance industry that spends a lot of money figuring out whose policy to cancel and what claims to deny (because that’s how they improve their financial performance for shareholders), there’s a really big problem.

Americans are in a funny spot with all the health data getting collected. If we lived in a country that provided healthcare to all of its citizens, this would be great data for clinicians to use to help us live longer, healthier lives. This is unfortunately not the country we live in.

Sounds great for the Canadians, though.


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