Steelcase Health Turns Transitional Moments in Healthcare into Productive Ones

Regard, a customizable solution for the healthcare journey

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – June 6, 2013 – A recent study conducted by Steelcase Health researchers following the journey of patients through the healthcare system shed light on three major pain points in the healthcare waiting spaces of today: the time wasted waiting for direction, consultation, and results; dehumanizing spaces with rows of armchairs in tight configurations to wait in; and no privacy, access to technology, or comfort while waiting.

The result of these observations is that for patients and caregivers alike, the healthcare journey can be a stressful one. Patients are suffering from design decisions made for a bygone era that didn’t allow for the integration and ubiquity of technology into daily life. Inflexible spaces have a wide range of negative impacts for caregivers also – ranging from not enough area to provide treatment to more complex issues like patient satisfaction, which is impacted by agitation from waiting or embarrassment by having to discuss personal issues in the open.

After observing patients, families, doctors, and nurses, designers and researchers at Steelcase Health worked to evolve the standard and static four-legged chairs and tables – and instead focused on the “in-between” or transitional moments that now comprise the majority of a patient’s healthcare journey. A new customizable system solution that can adapt to a wide variety of healthcare spaces, Regard directly addresses issues of comfort, privacy and the need to connect. Regard provides support for the downtime during visits, appointments, procedures, and surgeries; essentially giving patients and caregivers the resources to regain control of both their situation and space.

“Regard respects the fact that today’s patients and caregivers want to be empowered, informed, and don’t like to waste time and energy,” said Alan Rheault, Director of Industrial Design for Steelcase Health. “We also understand that no two facilities, patients, or healthcare situations are alike. Therefore, we’ve designed a solution that speaks to these critical factors and, positively impacts the experience people have visiting and working in clinical spaces. This is particularly important as patient satisfaction is increasingly factoring into the compensation model for healthcare providers in much more significant ways.”

Through its various configurations, Regard can de-clutter and simplify key areas within healthcare facilities, while also offering much-needed privacy to both individuals and families. The goal is to turn time from waiting into productive and provide people the opportunity to engage in activities that matter to them. This may include the ability to plug in a personal device such as a phone or tablet – without being tethered to the wall – to take care of work or personal issues or even just play a game for distraction. Regard even allows for watching educational medical videos at private kiosks and booth settings.

Alternately, different arrangements provide the ability to sit in a private or group setting. It also offers empowerment through its ability to support multiple seating postures, to be placed in different key spaces and areas within facilities, and to allow for various body shapes and sizes to sit comfortably.

Robert Heitmeier, General Manager at Steelcase Health believes, “The future of medicine is one that considers every space a healthcare space. As consumers assume a greater role in their own health and wellbeing, the healthcare journey will take on a new dynamic, driven by connections between clinicians, patients, families, technology and space. Patients will be fully empowered to be what we call ‘co-directors,’ and common areas can play a part it that. The space will not go away but it has a great need to reinvent itself. Now is the right time to do that.”

Some additional product specifications of note:

  • Regard is comprised of approximately 150 separate components.
  • The Regard system integrates modular seating, casegood elements, space division, power, and tables into a single solution.
    • Modular components connect to a robust, patent-pending frame system with a single tool.
    • Components are elevated from the floor, eliminating redundant legs and structure often found in ganged seating, individual furniture components, and built-in space division (such as half height drywall elements). The system also allows for the re-configurability and replacement of components.
    • Flexible power locations, integrated tables, and casegood elements provide space and function for users seeking technology in order to be productive.
    • Regard’s painted, laminate and fabric components will be available in a variety of finishes.
    • Regard will debut at Neocon 2013, June 10 – 12, in Chicago and will be available this winter.

About Steelcase Health

Steelcase Health is a company dedicated to providing user­-centered solutions in healthcare. Steelcase Health views the healthcare environment as an integral part of the healing process and provides holistic solutions that focus not only on product, but space as a whole, delivering research­-driven, evidence-­based solutions to complex problems in healthcare environments. For more information on Steelcase Health please visit here.