Healthcare furniture is one of the most unique products on the global market today. Healthcare furniture has to do a whole bunch of jobs at once; it has to be durable and able to withstand a huge amount of use, but it also has to be affordable in comparison with other furniture. Healthcare furniture, like the healthcare industry itself, is steadily growing.
There are so many different types of healthcare furniture consumers that to list them all would take the space of a dozen or more articles this site. Some of the most common and obvious ones include hospitals and urgent care facilities, doctor’s offices, laboratories and imaging centers where patients go for specialized care and even home hospice, nursing facilities, prisons and jails and government military installations. There are lots of consumers of healthcare furniture out here and they all want the same thing: affordable healthcare furniture that is durable, attractive and most of all, safe and comfortable for their patients.
Both in the United States and around the world, the segment of the consumer population that buys healthcare furniture is divided up into two giant groups – the large corporate entities that are expanding their healthcare empires, buying up hospitals and medical facilities, and the small, private practice clients who have much smaller (but still very important) needs. The number of hospitals has remained steady for many years now, and the number of private practice offices is actually growing. But there are some things that affect the market negatively, such as the increasing durability of healthcare furniture, and the reduction in replacement purchases that come with that long life.
When you say ‘healthcare furniture’ it can be difficult for someone to know exactly what you mean. That’s because to some people, you might be talking about chairs or tables, while to others, you will be discussing advanced diagnostic equipment worth millions of dollars. The reason that healthcare equipment is so varied in comparison with other furniture markets is that each specific piece of equipment has a singular purpose. For example, a blood drawing chair is made for just that, drawing blood. The only time it is used is when someone is having their blood drawn.
There is a staggering variety of healthcare furniture that you can find inside of most hospitals. Just a few examples of furniture includes: hospital beds and bedside tables, stands for instruments, carts, tables, scrub sinks, metal cabinets, casework, portable toilet facilities, medical office chairs and examination stools, waste containers, waiting room furniture and much more. In addition, there may be furniture such as examination tables, stretchers and IV stands. Plus, you can sometimes classify hospital equipment into this category. At least part of every piece of diagnostic equipment includes medical furniture components. X-Ray machines requires beds that are suited to the task, an MRI machine requires a place to lay, etc.
The good news for the industry is, hospitals and doctors’ offices cannot get their healthcare furniture from other industries, even if it does save them money. For example, while hospital support staff might be able to use equipment that was purchased from a corporate furnishings wholesaler, the majority of medical furniture still has to come from companies that specifically design and manufacture healthcare furniture, not only for the reason discussed earlier, where each item has a singular purpose, but also because these manufacturers already know the hygienic and easy-to-clean standards that each piece of furniture has to be designed to, in order to be used in a hospital setting.
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No one expects an explosion of growth anytime soon, but with more people insured and getting medical care than ever before in the United States, and some changes worldwide that make healthcare a growth industry, there is unlikely to be an end to this growth. This is particularly true because of the innovations that have been happening for the past decade with the medical industry. Whenever some technological improvement is created for the healthcare market, the buying population tends to upgrade as quickly as possible, because they want their patients to get the best care possible.
The bottom line is that the healthcare furniture industry is at a good place right now, and there isn’t likely to be any negative growth at any point in the near future. The market is healthy, and although the biggest companies dominate the healthcare furniture market as sellers, there is always room for more, because the supply of buyers is never ending. There is no reason that the market won’t continue to grow at a steady rate in the near future, and there may even be an explosion of healthcare furniture requirements, as more of the undeveloped or partially developed countries start to build infrastructures to rival the United States and Europe.
If you take a look around the world, you will notice that the healthcare furniture market is quite segmented based upon geography. Unlike the furniture industry as a whole, North America is the biggest consumer of this particular product. That’s due to the healthcare infrastructure that exists in the United States and Canada. The United States has seen a major growth in the insured population while Canada has had universal health care for a while. However, the Asia-Pacific region and a few other areas are growing quite rapidly, due again to the growth of medical infrastructure, but also to the number of patients being treated.
There are a lot of healthcare furniture manufacturers out there and the biggest names in the industry are those who have been around the longest. While luxury and normal furniture manufacturers are seeing a shift to the internet when it comes to how people buy furniture, the healthcare furniture market is doing business pretty much as usual. Some of the major manufacturers in the industry include Herman Miller, Knoll Healthcare Solutions, National Business Furniture, Global Furniture Group and Steelcase.