Herman Miller Healthcare Leads the Way with Introduction of Compass System

June 07, 2010

Company Reconnects with Continuum to Further Enrich Healing Environments

Driven by its commitment to the healthcare industry, Herman Miller Healthcare, a division of Herman Miller, Inc., navigates a new category of modular furniture with the introduction of its Compass System at NeoCon, June 14-16 (# 3-330). The result of an ongoing collaboration between Herman Miller and Continuum, a global innovation and design consultancy headquartered in Boston, Compass revolutionizes how designers and end-users address the constant state of change in healthcare spaces, all while providing a consistently superior experience for patients, families and staff.

"Compass was designed with change in mind. Its approach to furnishing healthcare interiors includes structural, surface and storage components that provide unexpected levels of flexibility," says Herman Miller Healthcare President Beth Nickels. "It also enables healthcare providers to reduce costs through a functional design that helps improve efficiency, quality of care and delivery, and the process of planning and installing. While many current solutions attempt to meet those needs, none adapt as quickly as Compass to the changing landscape of healthcare."

The company's second design collaboration with Continuum—following the 2008 launch of the award-winning Nala patient room chair—Compass was designed to not only meet but exceed the functional and aesthetic requirements of healthcare interiors. For over two years, Herman Miller and Continuum gathered observations from more than 550 individuals —from nurse managers to hospital administrators—to identify the four primary needs of this dynamic environment. The furnishing attributes ranked as most important included accommodating changes in technology, providing patient and family comfort, healthcare appropriate functionality, and supporting caregiver efficiency, all which served as key drivers in the design and development of Compass.

"Our philosophy is that you need to live something first-hand to truly understand it, which is why we began this project by studying the patient experience from all angles," said Continuum President and Chief Design Officer Gianfranco Zaccai.

Compass' True North: Quality of Care
As a valuable and needed solution for a variety of healthcare spaces, especially acute care and outpatient facilities, Compass is an essential component to creating a welcoming aesthetic within a patient room. Beyond its visual appeal, Compass also provides an array of benefits that contribute to improving the experience of working, visiting and healing:

Infection Prevention: Its innovative sink and faucet design reduces splashing—a major contributor to the spread of infection—while its combination of seamless, wrapped surfaces and overlapping tiles minimize the potential for liquids to seep into unseen areas.

Greater Cleanability: With Compass intentionally designed to be raised off the floor, the room can be cleaned quickly and thoroughly. The added space also maximizes the feeling of openness—a critical consideration in the context of increasingly smaller healthcare spaces.

Flexibility: A necessity in today's healthcare environment, Compass' ability to be easily assembled, disassembled, reconfigured and refreshed affords healthcare organizations the opportunity to implement ongoing workflow and efficiency improvements without room demolition or care interruption.

Available in a palette featuring a range of options suited for traditional or contemporary healthcare settings, the Compass System's tiles, components and shelves are available in eight standard, 99.9 percent PVC-free Durawrap finishes, including woodgrain and solid finishes. Additionally, an extensive customization program offers specifiers the ability to select the ideal color and pattern. Work surfaces are available in 15 Corian colors and with the option of integrated backsplashes to support cleanability.

Compass was developed according to Herman Miller's industry-leading Design for the Environment protocol, which emphasizes recyclability of materials, recycled content and ease of disassembly. It is up to 37 percent recyclable and contains up to 58 percent recycled content. Compass carries a 12-year warranty and will be available September 1, 2010.

About Herman Miller's Healthcare Businesses
Herman Miller Healthcare, Nemschoff, and Brandrud deliver thoughtful applications in support of healthcare environments for the well-being and comfort of staff, patients, and their families. Through a network of clinical strategists, clinical designers, and sales professionals, the companies provide research-based, problem-solving solutions to improve working and healing environments. Herman Miller is a charter member of the Health Facility Institute; a sustaining member of the Coalition for Health Environments Research; and a Research Partner with the Center for Health Design.

About Continuum
Continuum is a global innovation and design consultancy with offices in Boston, Milan, Shanghai, Seoul, and Los Angeles. Continuum was founded in 1983 with the philosophy of applying user research to uncover opportunities for innovation and applying interdisciplinary collaboration in transforming such insights into compelling design solutions. Since its inception Continuum and Continuum Advanced Systems have been focused on merging humanistic values with leading edge healthcare technologies.