Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, medical facilities were realizing an increased need for flexibility. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed more people to gain access to health services. Meanwhile, the medical industry was shifting toward a holistic, preventative approach. Consumers are increasingly seeking on-demand healthcare, which includes elective physical therapy and counseling.
As a result, people are visiting healthcare facilities more often. Thus, the buildings must accommodate more people, potentially for a wide variety of health services. It’s not always feasible to physically expand or renovate the space. Instead, healthcare designers embrace flexibility and scalability to ensure the health organization can best meet their patients’ needs.
Medical facilities must become more adaptable for several key reasons.
Shifting Consumer Expectations for Health Services
While more Americans are now insured thanks to the ACA, there are still many barriers to healthcare access. However, elective services and preventative care are increasingly popular.
Both the medical establishment and the rise of digital media contribute to a new emphasis on health culture. People now understand wellness as both physiological and mental. Because pop culture and news media make it easier for certain fads or topics to take hold, interest in proactive care, complementary treatments, and even self-diagnosis has grown.
In brief, demand for healthcare is complex, so facilities must become simpler. Often, the same building must accommodate patients seeking check-ups, elective procedures, treatment for acute illness, and more.
People are therefore less likely to seek care if the healthcare space isn’t accommodating. Besides financial concerns, the top reasons that people avoid healthcare include:
● Long wait times
● Inconvenient experience
● Lack of confidence in medical staff
A medical facility’s layout and design can greatly impact patient perceptions. Comfortable seating and accessible amenities are more likely to instill confidence than hardback chairs and rigid fixtures.
When healthcare spaces promote safety and efficiency for both patients and staff, they further reduce barriers to healthcare access — both logistical and behavioral. The right medical furniture plays a critical role in this supportive infrastructure.
Increased Longevity and Need for Senior Care
Humans are living longer than ever in our history. More seniors need healthcare, yet facilities aren’t always accessible to them. It may come as a surprise that many medical buildings fail to meet ADA requirements (PDF). Whether due to age, disability, or both, older patients may not be able to fully access a hospital or clinic’s amenities.
Traditional architecture and medical furniture often present challenges to aging patients. But that doesn’t mean they need the heavily structured or rigid furniture that one might see in a nursing home. Modern healthcare spaces find a middle ground that suits a wide range of mobility levels — without restricting or singling out a given demographic.
As people live longer, more seniors need basic checkups and bloodwork. Champion’s Unity BDC, a phlebotomy chair, features a low profile, spacious seat, and fully adjustable armrests. This makes it more accessible to patients with limited mobility.
Emerging Diseases and Critical Public Health Issues
Unfortunately, the novel coronavirus is not the only pathogen to emerge in recent years. While many infectious diseases don’t reach pandemic levels, it’s critical for all healthcare facilities to accommodate a potential surge in patients. This means creating flexible spaces that can convert to quarantine zones, procedure rooms, recovery wards, etc.
This versatility allows for scalability. Good healthcare design makes it possible to safely deliver care even if the building is heavily occupied. Moreover, the provider can diversify their services. Clinics can accommodate complex procedures, while traditionally inpatient facilities can also support ambulatory care.
Modular, multi-purpose medical furniture is crucial to building this infrastructure. This includes patient seating, ergonomic task furniture, and patient transport solutions such as stretcher-chairs. And in outbreaks or other public health emergencies, such furniture helps a medical facility instantly adapt to pressing demands. Extra office space, procedure rooms, etc. may become waiting rooms, triage, and recovery bays.
Greater Focus on Human-Friendly Experiences
Along with the industry’s shift toward integrative medicine and whole-person care comes an expectation for comfortable, supportive amenities. Traditional healthcare facilities and medical furniture were rigid, utilitarian, and impassive. The word “clinical” came to mean “cold and uncaring.”
So, the shift toward person-centered care is reflected in the higher demand for human-centric environments. An exam table or patient room recliner that’s hard and unforgiving doesn’t align with a compassionate, holistic approach. And it’s challenging for patients, caregivers, and families to share information or participate equally across clunky furniture in crowded care spaces.
Thus, flexibility and scalability create a friendly, more equitable environment. Modifiable medical furniture, such as patient recliners with headrests and IV poles, adapts the space to human needs rather than the other way around. Patient-room chairs and sleepers allow family members to remain by their loved one’s side.
Champion Supports Versatile, Comfortable Healthcare Spaces
The revolution in healthcare furniture prioritizes people over arbitrary design. Form and function go hand-in-hand. This paradigm shift is critical in an age of rising public health concerns, expanding patient demands, and an unprecedented emphasis on accessibility and inclusion.
Champion’s modular, multi-purpose furniture helps modernize healthcare facilities. From ergonomic task seating to an all-in-one surgical stretcher- chair, we offer a refined collection of top-quality designs. Browse our innovation solutions today.