Welcome to our 4th edition of the HEALTHCARE DESIGN Platinum Products and Services Guide!

Ever come across a product that was so beautifully designed that you just had to comment on it? Whether in terms of appearance, functionality, or both, it showed the work of an ingenious product designer.

In this special section, HEALTHCARE DESIGN acknowledges and identifies just some of these innovative product designers. The editorial staff reviewed dozens of nominations, submitted by readers, and selected our 2011 Top Ten-those that we felt displayed a flair for the creative and stylish, but with usefulness and ingenuity intact.

Also included in the supplement is our annual Product Showcase highlighting even more innovative products and services.

Product Name: Geberit Concealed Tank and Carrier System

Manufacturer: Geberit

Designer's Name: Erwin Schibig

Geberit concealed tank and carrier system, installed.
Geberit concealed tank and carrier system, installed.

Nomination: The Concealed Tank and Carrier System takes the toilet off the floor allowing for a cleaner more sanitized bathroom with more space to maneuver-perfect for hospitals and the healthcare industry, where sanitary conditions are essential and space is limited. Because the toilet is off the floor, cleaning is easier. Carriers are easy to install and maintain. Engineered for long life and reliability, each in-wall carrier system utilizes a rugged steel frame able to withstand a maximum load of 880 pounds, and Geberit brings water savings through 0.8 GPF (3 LPF) or 1.6 GPF (6 LPF) Geberit dual-flush technology.

What inspired you to design this product?

Geberit concealed tank and carrier system, exposed.
Geberit concealed tank and carrier system, exposed.

Geberit introduced the first concealed tank in 1964. In the intervening 40 years, we have continued to enhance the original design to make the product more durable, easier to install, and easier to maintain. Now in its third generation, the Geberit Concealed Tank and Carrier System features a one-piece tank that is blow-molded to eliminate potential leak points. The advanced flush valve not only enables water-saving dual-flush capability, but it can be serviced or replaced without the use of tools.

What were the main challenges you encountered in designing this product and how did you resolve them?

Standard injection molding results in seams that can weaken over time and result in leaks. The blow-molding process used by Geberit results in a seamless water tank, and 100% end-of-line testing of the tanks means every water tank that leaves the Geberit factory is guaranteed not to leak.


Contact: John Fitzgerald, Vice President-Marketing

Ph: 847-803-5000, ext. 224

Fax: 847-803-5454

Email: john.fitzgerald@chicagofaucets.com

Web: http://www.geberit.us

Product Name: LogiSon Acoustic Network

Manufacturer: KR Moeller Associates

Designer's Name: Niklas Moeller

Nomination: Though normally invisible above a ceiling, the LogiSon sound masking system's attention to aesthetic design is nonetheless impressive and distinct in its industry. Further, it addresses the significant need for improved noise control, speech privacy, and sleeping conditions-and does so in an elegant and flexible way. Its designers implemented a novel networked technology that permits dozens of individual room adjustments from a central location, maximizing performance, comfort, and ease of use with no mess. Its modular design approach (both physically and electronically) allows a wide variety of installation methods to suit the site's needs and cost-effective scalability over all facility sizes with consistent performance.

What inspired you to design this product?

There hadn't been a dramatic change in technology within the sound masking field for nearly 25 years. These traditional systems had inherent performance limitations and an industrial appearance that was only suited to installation above a suspended ceiling. We felt that they simply didn't fit the current market context. With our extensive experience in this industry, we believed we could lead the charge into the modern era. We were determined to develop a solution that was better suited for use in a wider variety of applications-including the array of healthcare settings-and one that would provide increased visual appeal, adjustment flexibility, comfort, and effectiveness.

What were the main challenges you encountered in designing this product and how did you resolve them?

Though we had an existing sound masking system, we decided to wipe the canvas clean and start as if from scratch. The new system needed to provide benefits for all stakeholders, including the manufacturer, specifiers, system integrators, facility managers, and occupants. Balancing these, at times competing, requirements was certainly challenging. We custom designed each component to maximize on-site flexibility, while still meeting construction and electrical codes. We ensured the system could be controlled using software, allowing its incredible range of adjustment options to be set with digital precision and efficiently updated whenever our clients' needs dictated. We built a technological platform to which we could easily add new functions in order to keep our new system at the forefront of masking technology over time. The resulting product-the LogiSon Acoustic Network-not only fulfilled our objectives, it actually launched the first new category in our industry in decades: networked sound masking.

KR Moeller Associates

Contact: Niklas Moeller, Vice President

Ph: 905-332-1730, ext. 23

Fax: 905-332-8480

Email: nmoeller@logison.com

Web: www.logison.com

Product Name: LS-1 integrated patient care system

Manufacturer: Integrated Medical Systems, Inc.

Designer's Name: Todd D. Kneale, President and Chief Operating Officer

Nomination: The LS-1 is unique in many ways: it integrates multiple diagnostic and therapeutic devices into a single FDA-cleared product (e pluribus unum!); its menu-driven centralized control and display simplifies caregiver management of multiple devices; its intelligent alarm management helps make sense out of conflicting alarms; all of its capabilities can be remotely monitored and remotely controlled, making real interventional telemedicine possible; being portable, it helps minimize patient disconnects and re-connects every time a patient is moved, making real continuous care possible; and portability also means it fits perfectly into the idea of flexible and acuity-adaptable rooms, as well as surge response.

What inspired you to design this product?

People create tools that mimic nature (pumps like our hearts, bellows like our lungs). The more challenging the task, the more integrated the tool (cameras like our eyes, computers like our brains). Our most challenging problem is saving t
he life of those who suffer from multi-system trauma. We had to match the tool to the challenge: a single integrated diagnostic-therapeutic device rather than the current equipment clutter, with multiple competing displays, information overload, conflicting alarms and tangle of cords. This could work because it's been successful in every other major industry, from automotive and aviation, to computers and telecommunications.

What were the main challenges you encountered in designing this product and how did you resolve them?

There were four major challenges integrating different devices from different manufacturers: 1) data of different types, formats and rates while streamlining information and prioritizing alarms; 2) combining hardware while reducing weight and volume; 3) eliminating redundant displays, packaging and cables while increasing reliability; and 4) doing all of the above in such a way that the new device could be FDA cleared. We resolved these challenges through the art and science of systems integration: thorough specifications for a common data bus, common power bus, and common structure. This system perspective resulted in an advanced architecture behind an elegantly useable, eminently affordable product.

Integrated Medical Systems, Inc.

Contact: Matthew E. Hanson, PhD, Vice President

Ph.: 562-498-1776 ext. 203

Fax: 562-597-6423

Email: matthewhanson@LSTAT.com

Web: www.LSTAT.com

Product Name: PatientCare Markerboard

Manufacturer: Skyline Art Services

Designer's Name: Louise Nicholson Carter, AAHID, IIDA, RID, EDAC, and Charles White, EDAC

Nomination: The glass PatientCare Markerboard incorporates visual imagery into the glass while providing an organized footwall for staff use. The board provides a positive distraction for patients with the use of nature photography.

What inspired you to design this product?

The inspiration for our line of custom glass PatientCare Markerboards comes from recognizing the need to simplify the patient room footwall in order to improve nurse communication and the patient experience. We have combined multiple functions into one aesthetically pleasing markerboard, which can be customized to include photography, graphics, background colors, text, and clocks. Made with only the highest quality materials, our glass markerboards are durable, easy to clean, and will never “ghost.”

What were the main challenges you encountered in designing this product and how did you resolve them?

There are two challenges we faced when designing the PatientCare Markerboards collection. First, we evaluated the various products and surface options available, ensuring that they met our criteria of cost control, lead time, and quality. The next step was to develop a programming process for the nurses so they could define their markerboards' customizations. Because patient rooms are not “one size fits all,” our development process needed to be flexible. The result is a glass markerboard that is completely customizable, sturdy, timeless, and cost-effective, providing a positive distraction for the patient and supporting communication for the nursing staff.

Skyline Art Services

Contact: Cathy Cates, BSN, VP, Business Development

Phone: 877-297-1222

Fax: 713-789-2330

Email: cathy@skylineartservices.com

Web: www.skylineartservices.com

Product Name: ProX Header

Manufacturer: CEMCO under license from Brady Innovations, LLC

Designer's Name: Todd Brady

Nomination: ProX Header is truly an elegant design. Stronger by design, using less steel. ProX Header offers a standard solution for all openings, a single piece metal framing member with internal mounting clips. Todd Brady's ProX Header is truly a green design using less steel to accomplish the same code-compliant result. ProX Header is code-compliant verified by ICC ESR-1765.

What inspired you to design this product?

In interior and exterior metal stud framed partitions (support), headers are needed over every door and window opening. These openings in the framing are known as rough openings. Traditional built-up headers are field assembled, labor intensive, and there is no standard method or configuration. These built-up headers are five-piece (stud and track) components, using 36 screws and up to 24 chop-saw cuts-externally mounted-leaving unsightly bulges in the finished walls. These bulges in the drywall require even more work during the finishing process of the work in progress, wasting valuable time and schedule days. We knew there had to be a better way to frame these rough openings. It was awarded three U.S. patents.

What were the main challenges you encountered in designing this product and how did you resolve them?

Metal framing members are cold-formed (galvanized gauge coil) steel members roll-formed into finished goods. The challenge in designing this product was developing a shape that is functional for the end-user and strong enough to meet the tough building code standards. After researching and testing many various designs, my modified W-shaped header proved to be the most efficient and strongest weight-to-strength ratio member. The (horizontal) header to (vertical) jamb stud connection is the critical point. An additional challenge was to develop a connection that resulted in no buildup or overlapping materials, which resulted in a smooth flush finish.

CEMCO under license from Brady Innovations, LLC

Contact: Brady Innovations, LLC

Ph: 888-475-7875

Fax: 818-906-7325

Email: bradyinnovations@gmail.com

Web: www.proxheader.com

Product Name: Salmoiraghi Light Automatic Transport Systems

Manufacturer: Salmoiraghi Automatic Handling

Designer's Name: Sandro Salmoiraghi

Nomination: Salmoiraghi Light Automatic Transport Systems (SLATS) are designed to safely, rapidly, and flexibly interconnect various medical center departments: main pharmacy; laboratories; wards; and operation theaters. Material transport is performed by electrically powered “Shuttle” vehicles traveling on electrified monorail circuits, and equipped with a swiveling container, carrying a 10-kg payload (typically test specimens, CAT plates, sterile materials, surgical tools, medicines etc.). The system serves stations located on different floors and even in different buildings. Each station has an operator interface PC with user-friendly video pages. The system is managed by a Supervision server communicating with the various utilities via Wi-Fi network. SLATS provides added value in the utilization of specialized medical staff, freeing it up from internal transport tasks.

What inspired you to design this product?

Our vision and mission is to transfer modern logistic concepts, already field-proven in industrial applications, to healthcare facilities, automate the internal transport tasks, and ensure positiv
e tracking of mission routes and relevant cycle times. The main benefit consists of the added value deriving from better utilization of specialized medical staff; indeed, even today, too many work hours of this highly qualified personnel are spent for transporting medicines and other supplies from one department to the other. The precious time saved by means of the automated transport system can be better invested in patient care or other important activities.

What were the main challenges you encountered in designing this product and how did you resolve them?

The main challenges were to adapt industrial mechanical concepts to the peculiar and stringent requirements of the healthcare environment; design vertically-traveling “Shuttle” vehicles for reaching various floor levels so as to serve all wards and departments; achieve reliable wireless communication for controlling all Shuttle and rail switch movements; use materials compatible with healthcare environment standards; ensure full mechanical and electronic reliability; and develop and implement a user-friendly interface of the computerized control system. We solved these challenges thanks to our longtime automation experience, full integration of design activities, and utilization of the latest technology.

Salmoiraghi Automatic Handling

Contact: Sandro Salmoiraghi (President)

Ph.: 011-39-039-206961

Fax: 011-39-039-2021524

Email: sandrosalmoiraghi@salgroup.it

Web: http://www.salgroup.it/

Product Name: Self-Returning Swivel Seat

Manufacturer: Clarin Seating

Designer's Name: Clarin Engineering Team

Nomination by Margi Kaminski, RTKL Associates: It is a very innovative solution in seating for healthcare applications. Many healthcare facilities have workstations located in corridors. It is sometimes prohibitive to place freestanding chairs at these stations because of code requirements. A fixed chair is sometimes permissible, yet the choices are few and aesthetically unappealing. The Clarin “Self-Returning Swivel Seat” has given the market an acceptable solution!

What inspired you to design this product?

The inspiration for the Self-Returning Swivel Seat came from a need in the market for fixed corridor seating that meets fire and safety codes. One of our reps approached us with a project that had existing fixed workstations in between hospital rooms, but realized loose seating didn't meet fire and safety codes. Since Clarin is known as a fixed seating provider for classrooms and lecture halls, our rep brought us the project. Working together with the hospital architects, we came up with the fixed Self-Returning Swivel Seat. The seat swivels on a swing-arm pedestal that's secured to the floor and workstation. The seat returns to its original position after each use to keep hallways clear.

What were the main challenges you encountered in designing this product and how did you resolve them?

The main challenges were designing the seating solution to fit seamlessly within an existing alcove design, being able to easily tweak the design for future nurses' alcove seating projects, and making sure that the seat was comfortable for the hospital staff. Since we work on classroom projects that involve a lot of customization, our design team was more than up for the challenge. They worked closely with the hospital architects to create the pedestal to their exact specifications. Additionally, we had members of the hospital staff test out different seat options for comfort. The nurses and doctors couldn't be happier with the outcome.

Clarin Seating

Contact: Sarah Brennand

Ph.: 847-457-6601

Fax: 847-234-9001

Email: sbrennand@clarinseating.com

Web: www.clarinseating.com

Product Name: Sereneview

Manufacturer: Catalina Curtain Co.

Designer's Name: Ernesto Rogriguez

Nomination by Tom Hansen, CFO, Tom Hansen Associates, Inc.: A world-renowned photographer and professor of psychology has taken award-winning scenes of nature and emblazoned them onto cubicle curtains, ceiling tiles, and full wall murals. The overall calming effect on patients, their families, and the professional staff in general greatly enhances the level of outcomes and, ultimately, the bottom line.

What inspired you to design this product?

After visiting a friend in the hospital, I traveled to Northern California to create a series of fine art photographs about the redwoods. While working on a composition, I sat down to savor my surroundings: the dappled light streaming through the trees, the ancient earthly smells, the quiet stream weaving its way, and the crisp coastal air. I felt nurtured by the forest, when the thought of my friend in the hospital popped into mind. The sharp contrast to the hospital environment left me wondering why hospitals aren't more nurturing.

What were the main challenges you encountered in designing this product and how did you resolve them?

The biggest challenge was learning to speak “textile-ese.” I did not have the vocabulary to bring my vision to life. I wanted to surround the patient with an image of the forest printed on a hospital curtain. A fateful series of events began that led to a prototype. The coincidences continued while commuting home to Catalina Island. The boat ride resulted in an introduction to Jain Malkin, who educated me and provided guidance on the concept of “healing environments.”


Contact: Ernesto Rodriguez

Ph: 310-510-0541

Fax: 310-510-3543

Email: ernie@sereneview.com

Web: www.sereneview.com

Contact: Loren Price

Ph: 888-515-6578

Fax: 951-674-3876

Email: loren@sereneview.com

Web: www.sereneview.com

Product Name: Silvr Ion

Manufacturer: Carolina

Designer's Name: Michael Shields

Nomination by Michelle Peterson, healthcare account executive, Facility Interiors: The Silvr Ion collection is made up of a combination of exposed wood, metal, and upholstery covers, all of which offer silver ion technology embedded into their surfaces for a complete antimicrobial defense system. The Silvr Ion series allows for consistency throughtout a facility because it consists of lounge, guest, multiple, patient, and bariatric seating, as well as occasional tables. The design is contemporary, and the price is very reasonable.

What inspired you to design this product?

The growing concerns of infection control in today's healthcare facilities.

What were the main challenges you encountered in designing this product and how did you resolve them?

Creating a chair that not only provided a total antimicrobial solution, but that also included many of the design features that are required by healthcare facilities, such as durability, flexibi
lity, and ease of care and maintenance. While the appearance of Silvr Ion offers the warmth of a wood chair, it is actually a metal frame that is encapsulated by wood overlays. This metal frame allows for supreme durability. Metal accents, such as foot caps and front rails, provide added durability for areas that receive the most abuse. A 360-degree cleanout around the seat makes housekeeping effortless.


Contact: Stan Gray

Ph: 800.763.0212

Fax: 336.885.0110

Email: sgray@carolinabusinessfurniture.com

Web: www.carolinabusinessfurniture.com

Product Name: Ulna system

Manufacturer: CYCLOPE SAS

Designer's Name: Richard HOUIS

Nomination: The Ulna system is the ultimate solution to prevent infections. This is a unique concept of a hands-free door handle. Ulna is an efficient, simple, and competitive solution for infection prevention. It is already present in more than 300 establishments in Europe (health ministry, hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, etc.). By its design-colorful-and its different shape, Ulna is encouraging and reminds us about the importance of handwashing in the hospital.

What inspired you to design this product?

One of my customers, a restaurant holder, explained to me the three important matters in a restaurant: good bread, perfectly clean glasses, and clean toilets. If one of these three points is not respected, the customer consider the restaurant badly managed and of bad quality. He told me, “Richard, I want you to design the cleanest toilets ever!” I then thought about all the people coming out of the toilets without washing their hands and realized they were touching the same door handle as I was! The solution for a more hygienic environment was there: a hands-free system. Ulna was born. Ulna is supported by many infection prevention organizations and was recently presented to the Department of Health in London.

What were the main challenges you encountered in designing this product and how did you resolve them?

The main challenge for me was to make sure Ulna fits the needs of healthcare professionals. They needed a resistant, ergonomic, convenient system, something that would save time and improve their working conditions by using it every day. Thanks to Doctor Seguier's* team and after three years of research and development, and more than 80 moulds we finally found the perfect shape and functionality for Ulna.

*(Head of Department of Infectious and Tropical disease - CHI St Germain en Laye - Paris)


Contact: Lucie Martin (International Manager)

Ph.: 011-33-633-008335

Fax: 011-33-811-383647

Email: lucie@ulna-system.com or richard@ulna-system.com

Web: www.ulna-system.com

Healthcare Design 2011 May;11(5):55-60