Empath on Tour: Dispatch Two

Empath is in the midst of a tour around the country, stopping in 13 markets to share Steelcase Health’s research and insights around human-centered design in healthcare. There have been four events so far (we detailed the first two here) – the next two stops on the tour were in Denver and Orlando.

The event in Denver was held at OfficeScapes’ Market St. Studio facility – a perfect venue that facilitated our use of technology, was comfortable for our guests, and enabled everyone to experience Empath in the context of Steelcase’s larger portfolio of human-centered, design-friendly products.

Despite a midday snowstorm that shut down a major highway in Denver, amongst the attendees were members of the Denver healthcare design community and local hospital representatives, including several safety officers and nurse managers. “It was great having hospital staff in the audience, as they provided a healthy skepticism of the Clinician Wellbeing survey results, and we had some great interactions,” said Ryan Grote, Steelcase Health Area Healthcare Manager and host of the event. “They did say they appreciated that Steelcase Health had done the work and the research, despite their propensity to question it; the safety officer said it showed we are thinking about the right things.”

The architects and designers in the audience really bought in to the advantages of Empath versus an exam table, as did one of the facility planners who attended. She said exam tables are an obstacle in their out-patient facilities, and that Empath was a much more personal option she was sure her patients and nurses would prefer.

The event in Orlando, while in warmer climes, returned similar feedback. The event was held in a beautiful venue in the heart of downtown. The crowd of mostly A&D, with representatives from 3 hospitals mixed in, enjoyed the two demonstrations, the bed-to-chair transfer and the chair-centric Smartphone Physical. The leg braces of the third-age suit were an effective ice-breaker, and were key in getting people to participate and interact with the furniture and the demonstrations. In all, 4 people tried on the leg braces, and several more stepped in as the clinician administering the Smartphone Physical on the Verge stool. “Participating particularly helped people understand the Smartphone Physical experience,” said Robin Maddalena, host of the Orlando Event. “By sitting in Empath and on the Verge stool, they got a firsthand idea of the value to eye-to-eye contact.”

Added Steve Morrow, Vice President of Sales for Steelcase Health: “The setting with the technology really emphasized how new experiences could be achieved with some less clinical and more personal elements in the space. The eye-to-eye arrangement of the Smartphone Physical quickly led to other ideas for how this kind of setting could significantly change the relationship between patients and clinicians. They understood completely how the comfortable introduction of familiar technology and instantaneous results could lead to an enhanced, more efficient consultation and collaboration experience.”

Stay tuned for reports on these future events:

March 18, 2014 – Philadelphia, PA

March 20, 2014 – Los Angeles / Orange County, CA

March 26, 2014 – Boston, MA

April 1, 2014 – New York City, NY

April 3, 2014 – Nashville, TN

April 10, 2014 – Houston, TX

May 6, 2014 – Seattle, Washington

May 7, 2014 – Portland, OR

(*Dates subject to change. Contact @Steelcase HealthAsks for additional details.)

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