Steelcase Health Prescribes New Products for the Healthcare Industry

Steelcase Health Prescribes New Products for the Healthcare Industry

Chicago – June 14, 2010 – Facing an aging population, rising demand for services and increased cost pressures, healthcare providers are always looking for new prescriptions for the healthcare environment. Steelcase Health focuses on healthcare environments and how products within these environments can help make them more comfortable, efficient and conducive to the healing process. At NeoCon 2010, Steelcase Health will introduce its largest new product offering ever.

Over the past six years, members of the Steelcase Health team have conducted observational research at leading health facilities like Ascension Health, Intermountain Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Massachusetts General Hospital, Mayo Clinic and other top Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs) and providers to evaluate a wide variety of interactions in numerous healthcare environments – especially how patients receive care and how caregivers perform their duties.

“People develop routines sub-consciously and if a piece of furniture, equipment or process is uncomfortable or doesn’t work just the right way, they adapt and create workarounds,” said Alan Rheault, Director of Design at Steelcase Health. “Observing people in clinics and hospitals gives us the opportunity to see these adaptations and how people actually work and interact with their surroundings.”

“That’s why something as simple as adding a foot ring to a table or making the same table with a softer, more inviting shape can make a big difference in how people work.”

Steelcase Health products focus on three key groups: patients, caregivers and partners in care. Each group has distinct needs within the healthcare environment and Steelcase Health meets these needs with creative solutions inspired by the unique interactions between these different groups and their work environment.

Steelcase Health will be launching a record number of products at this year’s NeoCon, including an innovative line of mobile workstations, a beautiful family of healthcare seating and a comprehensive casegoods line. The company will also introduce enhancements to a number of existing Steelcase Health products. Here’s a detailed overview of two key product launches featured in the new Steelcase Health showroom at NeoCon 2010.

Pocket (designed in collaboration with Modo)

Pocket is Steelcase Health’s new family of mobile workstations, designed to support the active work of healthcare professionals by accommodating both the demands of the task at hand as well as supportive technology. Pocket focuses on three key design principles:

1. Less is more

  • A small footprint to fit into the real world of healthcare
  • Only the most essential features — creating low cost and high value
  • Zero noise (really) and less effort to roll with the best wheels in the industry

2. Accommodate changing technology

  • Pocket easily handles a wide variety of technology — lap tops, tablets, monitors, CPU’s, all-in-ones — even pen & paper

3. People do things differently… let them

  • Moveable magnetic accessories allow for quick user configuration
  • Flexibility – non-prescribed surfaces and light storage ready to be transformed to the work process of the user
  • Healthcare work happens anywhere and everywhere today. Healthcare professionals ARE mobile workers.

Technology such as the Electronic Medical Record (EMR), has emerged as a critical element of virtually every healthcare function, but technology hardware and software are changing rapidly. To support healthcare work — both the technology and how it is supported needs to be “in motion.”

Pocket mobile workstations provide an opportunity to bring together work and the use of technology as a tool: to communicate with a patient, to collaborate with coworkers or to perform personal, focused work.

The statement of line for Pocket includes easy-to-roll workstations that provide: a clean mobile work surface at a fixed standup height, simple support for technology (i.e. a laptop computer), light storage for small medical supplies and an integrated solution for a small CPU with an attached adjustable monitor. Pocket also offers height adjustable models in combination with each of these features to allow even more personalization of the mobile surface.

Key Pocket innovations include:

  • Elimination of noise during movement (the number one complaint of patient stays)
  • “Design” first solution – in which design truly meant the elimination of what was not important or critically essential
  • The ability to personalize work process per workstation, per individual, with moveable magnetic accessories
  • Adaptable to a wide variety of technology solutions, including just pen and paper
  • Variety of configurations to meet multiple needs and budgets
  • Simple, intuitive cable management
  • Surface finishes, no seams, and construction truly tough enough to take on the cleaning requirements of stringent infection control standards

“Pocket is small, unobtrusive and easy to configure, said Rheault. “It can support laptops, PC’s, tablets and PDA’s. Pocket can be used in a patient room, an exam room, an emergency room or any part of a hospital or clinic. Pocket changes when technology changes and Pocket changes when procedures change. This is exactly the type of product that will make managers with tight budgets very happy.”


Steelcase Health’s Tava offers a smart, beautiful collection of seating and more, with a statement of line that includes: guest chairs, lounge seating, benches, tables, and complimentary casegood products designed for healthcare environments.

The solutions were driven by observation-based insights, specifically identifying the need for beautiful design with appropriate function, promoting soothing atmospheres and bringing hospitality elements into healthcare spaces helping to reduce stress.

With a high level of fit and finish, Tava features an expressed use of mitered ash wood, carefully designed from all sides and angles. Clean lines with a comfortable and robust construction, the entire collection meets the functional rigors of today’s 24/7 healthcare environment with a refined transitional style.

Tava considers a wide range of requirements in healthcare spaces to meet the needs of a variety of waiting areas: the user’s size, posture, and duration of visit can vary as much as the space itself can fluctuate from a waiting room to hallway, or lobby to patient area.

The breadth of the Tava seating, table, and casegood offerings work together to support these diverse needs.

Tava provides a full range of seating solutions: benches for short term seating, lounge solutions for a comfortable long term stay and guest chairs for everything in between. A highback chair, glider, simple recliner, sleeper sofa, and bariatric versions allow Tava seating to play from the front lobby to the patient room.

Comfort is also a key focus. Springs are used to create a supportive sit for the user and prevent fabric from “puddling” in the seat area due to intense use. The broad arm caps on Tava have been designed to provide a firm structure to assist users when getting in and out of the chairs. All seating solutions feature a crumb sweep.

Waiting is so much more than just sitting, therefore the Tava tables and casegoods are designed to visually complement the seating line while supporting the needs of “active waiting.”

Dressers and wardrobes provide personal storage, a sideboard and buffet with optional sink, bring elements of hospitality to healthcare. Planters make a space feel like home while helping furniture arrangements turn corners in a functional way. The media credenza supports entertainment and tables provide a place for a drink or a magazine. Optional power integration into table and dresser tops provides a place to plug in personal entertainment or work devices.

Tava features a transitional design, allowing different surface material selections to drive the aesthetic from traditional to a more contemporary style. This visual flexibility and the breadth of the Tava statement of line helps this family coordinate with a variety of design schemes and building layouts.

Tava’s seat is comprised of a spring construction which helps to keep its shape and prevent fabrics from puddling from intense use. This feature provides the capability for Tava to accommodate a large variety of COM fabrics, specifically the highly cleanable fabrics which are required (but challenging to upholster) for healthcare environments.

Tava is designed to be beautiful from all sides and angles, with interesting play between the robust visual of the seat and back and the elegant angled ash wood legs.

Since Tava is intentionally designed to be viewed from all sides, any configuration of the product is possible. Seating, benches, and tables can be arranged to support conversations. Lounges can be clustered around a media credenza to create a gathering place with a focal point. Individual products become elements of a greater aesthetic arrangement in the environment.

All materials contribute to the refined aesthetic of Tava. Solid surface materials or powder coated steel create structure for benches, tables, and casegoods — creating a seamless solution.

The key aesthetic element that links the collection together is the legs. The entire product offering features mitered ash wood, the grain line of the ash enhancing the angular lines of the overall design, and floating the products off the ground in way that lightens the scale compared to typical products in the market.

Specific attention was given to the areas of material change, from fabric to powder coated steel to ash wood to solid surface — each material type featured in the Tava offering contributes to the shared design language across the product types.

All of these individual design elements are executed with a heightened attention to detail, working together to create a beautiful solution not typically expected for healthcare.

(Suite 3-101 in the Merchandise Mart) for a glimpse into a healthier future or learn more at Health.)


Aideen Doherty

Michael Pflughoeft