They said it couldn’t be done. But Hurricane Sandy made Odulair CEO Anita Chambers more determined than ever to launch the world’s first mobile dialysis unit to meet U.S. healthcare standards for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reimbursement. “We had so many calls from people desperately needing dialysis services because many facilities had been destroyed by the flooding,” she recalls.
Odulair, which manufactures mobile healthcare units for 40 medical specialties, had been working on a prototype for some time. After solving the ultrapure water filtration challenges with an FDA cleared proprietary water filtration system, they introduced their first mobile dialysis unit in the fall of 2013.
Herman Miller and Nemschoff proved to be excellent partners in the project. “The representatives at (Herman Miller dealership) Work Squared—Laura Agabashian and Megan Laird—were so helpful,” Chambers states. “I explained everything about dialysis to them, and they helped us come up with a perfect match for what we needed.”
Key Requirements: Easy Reconfiguration
Requirements were very specific, and very customized, she adds. For example, because the unit is mobile, “We take it apart and put it back together virtually every day when we open and close it up. So we needed a system that enables us to do that quickly and easily and Herman Miller’s Co/Struc is ideal.”
The Co/Struc modular system consists of wall-hung components designed to be reconfigurable on both macro and micro levels to meet the ever-changing needs of the healthcare world. She was familiar with the product because Odulair uses it in their other mobile units, and she knew how well it worked. Caper Chairs were also used: “They stack so easily in small spaces,” notes Chambers about how the chairs can be tucked away when it’s time to pack up.
Making Patients Comfortable
An equally important criteria was patient comfort—and the Nemschoff Serenity IIS Treatment Chair, with its heat and massage features, turned out to be an even better solution than Chambers had hoped for. “Patients spend a lot of their lives in dialysis; typically, their treatments are four hours a day, every other day,” she explains “They get cold during the process, and they’re not feeling well anyway. So we want to do everything we can to make it a comfortable experience for them, and a treatment chair with built in heat and massage was a must.”
Comfort is so important to Odulair that they developed and trademarked a patient-relaxation system called Synesthesia, which completely immerses patients in a comforting and nurturing environment, with features such as a 25-foot video wall, where soothing nature scenes appear synchronized to soft music and ambient color-changing lighting. “The Serenity Chair fits beautifully with our whole philosophy,” says Chambers.
Easily Sanitized Fabrics
Serenity’s wide range of easily sanitized fabrics was also extremely beneficial, notes Herman Miller/Nemschoff representative Terri Miller. “The fabrics are tested to meet the high performance demands of healthcare environments and can be wiped down with bleach without damaging them,” she states. Chambers was pleasantly surprised by the number of choices she had, and noted again how helpful it was to have the Work Squared team walk her through the process.
The results have been so overwhelmingly positive that when California Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D., toured the unit he noted that, “This mobile dialysis clinic has more features than some hospitals. It’s amazing.”