Smart Homes Keep a Digital Eye on You
A new generation of off-the-shelf consumer products to use at home are emerging to monitor health metrics once available only in a clinic—vital signs, food intake and calories, changes in cognition, and mental health status. Weight scales in your home can now measure BMI, body fat, subcutaneous fat, body water, skeletal muscle and muscle mass, and are wirelessly linked to apps that collect and analyze health trends. Environmental sensors measure indoor air quality. Increasingly, these “always-on” networked devices will share and interact with each other— and eventually with wearables and other personal data—creating a remarkably holistic understanding of an individual’s health.
Here are a few examples of what’s arriving to equip the smart home of the future:
Diagnostic toilets will automatically test for signs of health and diseases in urine and stool, including blood, nutrition and gut microbiome.
Alexa-like interfaces will listen to your voice for signs of stress or depression or the onset of disorders like Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions.
Through 30-second selfies taken on tablets and smartphones, we will check vital signs and run hundreds of diagnostics, including markers for hypertension, stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
Touch screens on tablets and smartphones will also monitor changes in finger dexterity as a sign of depression or other mental disorders, and the onset of dementia.
GPS tracking will trace geographic exposures to diseases—STIs, monkeypox, Covid, flu, measles, etc.
Handheld kitchen spectrometers will analyze your food for toxins, allergens and nutritional components.
At-home devices will analyze your breath for biomarkers of diseases, including bacterial infections, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Smartwatches and other wearables will monitor you as you sleep, ready to alert family and medical personnel of any signs of atrial fibrillation or stroke.
Diagnostics will arrive by Uber-style delivery or by drone.
The home is the next frontier in terms of where you can best ensure value-based care, and we are at an inflection point.
Andrew Agwunobi, MD
President of Humana’s Home Solutions