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Innovation in Healthcare Furniture: Enhancing Patient Outcomes

Innovation in Healthcare Furniture: Enhancing Patient Outcomes
Research indicates that patients in rooms with natural views recover 8.5% faster and require less pain medication. (Credit: https://tediselmedical.com/)

Today, innovations in healthcare furniture and design are transforming patient care and enhancing treatment outcomes, with advancements that prioritize safety, functionality and aesthetics. From ergonomic designs that improve staff efficiency and minimize workloads, to patient-centric solutions that improve prognoses and increase well-being, the evolution of healthcare furniture is reshaping medical environments.

Such innovation is driving market growth, with the value of the hospital furniture sector predicted to grow from $8.2 billion in 2022, to $16.1 billion by 2030. Here are five trends in innovative healthcare furniture.

1/ Technology Built-In

A wide range of factors are driving innovation in hospital furniture. The ongoing development of digital technology is playing a major role, with a growing number of products boasting digital connectivity through the so-called Internet of Things and incorporating advanced sensors that continually keep track of the condition of patients.

Smart beds can now monitor a whole range of variables, including a patient’s weight, body temperature and heartbeat, and include blood, oxygen and pressure sensors. Sensor-enabled healthcare furniture also enhances patient safety by detecting potential risks and falls. Tristan Hulbert, Group IT & Systems Director at UK-based healthcare equipment manufacturer Innova Care Concepts, explained:

“These trends are exemplified by Innova’s Interlude electric profiling bed range, that can incorporate a sophisticated in-built weighing device, or the Somlent Genius mattress, which uses a digital sensor system that is so advanced that pressure is redistributed instantaneously at the slightest change in patient position.”

The Innova's Interlude electric profiling bed range. (Credit: Innova)
The Innova’s Interlude electric profiling bed range. (Credit: Innova)
The Innova's Interlude electric profiling bed range. (Credit: Innova)

2/ Taking the Load Off

Changes in population demographics are also influencing hospital furniture and equipment design. An example of this is the growing number of bariatric patients which necessitates an increase in the working loads that products can handle. Tristan Hulbert added:

“The Integralift bed hoist from Innova introduces unparalleled innovation, with complete foldability that helps to minimize visual impact.

With various finishes and customizable options, it seamlessly integrates into diverse settings, from private homes to hospices. This mobility hoist reduces strain on carers, providing efficient lift and transfer solutions.”

3/ Patient-Centric Design

Healthcare furniture is increasingly being designed around the needs of patients. This involves creating environments that are welcoming, soothing and conducive to the healing process. When it comes to developing spaces that encourage relaxation and relieve stress, the use of soft colors, curved edges and aesthetics that are evocative of home is becoming increasingly common.

Research indicates that patients in rooms with natural views recover 8.5% faster and require less pain medication. Tristan Hulbert commented:

“One of the most obvious changes to hospital furniture is aesthetics. Evidence has shown that providing the right healing environment can help reduce patient stress levels.

The healing process is not the same as curing—it’s about mitigating symptoms and fixing problems so that the patient can feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible.”

Integralift bed hoist from Innova. (Credit: Innova)
Integralift bed hoist from Innova. (Credit: Innova)
Integralift bed hoist from Innova. (Credit: Innova)
Integralift bed hoist from Innova. (Credit: Innova)

4/ Optimizing Space

Modern healthcare furniture design also takes account of the space available in hospitals and other medical settings, which can often be limited. From modular seating systems to movable partitions, innovative furniture solutions ensure that space is used effectively, without compromising patient comfort or privacy.

Examination rooms with integrated storage solutions help streamline workflow and declutter treatment areas by keeping essential tools and supplies out of sight, but still within easy reach. Tristan Hulbert said:

“When developing new furniture and equipment for healthcare environments, a good product design team will consider the dimensions of the areas where products will be used.

As populations increase and hospitals become busier, space is typically at a premium. This means products such as folding wall beds are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in children’s wards where parents or relatives may need to stay overnight.”

5/ Infection Control

The integration of infection control features in hospital furniture can help to elevate cleanliness and safety levels. With the Covid-19 epidemic sharpening the focus on this area, materials that inhibit the growth of microorganisms and surfaces that are simple to clean are increasingly being incorporated into hospital furniture design. Tristan Hulbert highlighted:

“Infection control is a top priority these days. With hospital departments focusing on the prevention and control of infection-related diseases, there is growing demand to ‘design bugs out’ of furniture and equipment.

As manufacturers such as Innova have pioneered new materials and unveiled new manufacturing methods, other companies have been forced to change their hospital furniture offerings to catch up with higher standards.”

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