Medical Furniture – Be Careful Where Your Patients Sit
Dan Greenfield | July 13, 2016
Medical Furniture Promotes Health and Well Being
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that price and delivery dates are the most common questions we get helping physicians procure medical furniture.
Prices for medical furniture are often significantly higher than they expect, and physicians are surprised at the time it takes for delivery. There is a temptation to get non-health grade furniture at a local furniture outlet to save money and time.
Our advice is to pay careful attention to your patients’ needs. Consider furniture as an extension of the patient experience and their care. Furniture can set the tone for their visit and better ensure patient health and well-being. Healthcare furniture typically lasts longer and is easier to maintain if specified correctly.
For some insight into medical furniture, I turned to my business partner Patricia Fortenberry. She has more than 20 years of experience specifying and procuring furniture.
So what goes into the price of medical furniture? Let’s use patient chairs as an example.
Selecting the right furniture comes down to structure, maintenance, and infection control.
Patient chairs that meet healthcare grade standards should be impervious to liquids and ideally be antimicrobial. They also should contain these design/construction elements:
Maintenance: The ability to clean out between seat and back with fabric which is easier to clean
Support: An inner metal frame for support with metal to metal connectivity
Infection Control: Powder coated or urethane arm caps
Safety: Glides appropriate to the floor surface. If you need castors on a chair, make sure they can lock.
Fire Code: Specifications can vary from state to state
The Delivery Date
When you order a furniture, you have two options: quick ship or “custom.”
Quick ship means a quick turnaround but you have very few, if any design options. Custom in this case means you can choose from a set of options to meet your needs; it does not mean building a chair from scratch, which is impractical and unnecessary.
The average delivery time for a custom chair is 8 to 10 weeks from the date the order is placed. You need to plan ahead if you want your furniture in place when you office or clinic opens.
Why so long? Most healthcare furniture is not built and stocked in a warehouse ready to be shipped. Furniture is built on a per order basis.
Some furniture manufacturers offer fabrics; others don’t. Or they don’t offer a healthcare fabric that you want to use. In those cases, you will need to select fabric from a textile manufacturer and order as “customer owned material.”
All this can be handled by an experienced medical interiors designer with healthcare furniture expertise.
For more information about procuring healthcare furniture, please contact us to see how we can save you money and ensure you have appropriate furniture for your patient and staff needs.