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As healthcare needs are changing, so are the plans for patient facilities of the future. Like any organization, healthcare is adjusting to rapid advancements in technology, shifting demographics, and an expanding focus on human-centered and evidence-based design.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of hospitals world­wide. The rapid spread of COVID-19 globally prompted policymakers to evaluate the capacity of healthcare infrastructure. Many hard-hit localities witnessed a large influx of severe cases that strained existing hospitals. As COVID-19 spread in India, it became essential to evaluate the country’s capacity to treat severe cases.

Hospitals in India are suffering from a major shortage for beds and other equipment. The country is estimated to have 1.9 million hospital beds, of that, 1.2 million are in the private hospitals and 0.7 million in the government hospitals. There are 0.95 million ICU beds, of which 0.59 million are in the private hospitals and remaining 0.36 million in the government. The outbreak of the pandemic resulted in the construction of new hospitals to treat patients infected by the novel coronavirus.

In such cases, sustainable innovations are receiving their fair share of limelight, where beds and computer tables made from bamboo can be used in isolation wards and quarantine centers to house large number of patients. Research teams and product designers in the hospital furniture market are putting their creative minds in action to innovate in beds and wheelchairs. Recently, Ravi Mokashi Punekar, a professor and product designer at IIT-Guwahati’s Department of Design, constructed beds, examination tables for patients, and IV (Intravenous) fluid stands from bamboo, owing to its sustainability. Manufacturers in the hospital furniture market could take cues from such innovators during the ongoing COVID-19 era.

As the COVID-19 cases continue to escalate in India, manufacturers are capitalizing on the unprecedented demand for beds and partitions. Recently, Nilkamal introduced exclusive products like COVID quarantine bed, VirusGUARD partition, and the 7 position isolation bed to meet urgent requirements of hospitals. Due to the overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases, hospitals are cash-strapped. Hence, manufacturers are introducing beds that are economical and only take minutes to assemble.

Companies have been working round-the-clock to devise unique hospital furniture solutions that are an outcome of rigorous R&D. They are developing innovative COVID quarantine beds that are easy to store, use, and transport. Most hospital furniture and equipment are often incompatible to the changing needs of patients and emerging as a challenge for furniture manufacturers. Hence, manufacturers in the hospital furniture market are increasing their focus in ergonomically-sound furniture to suit the needs of patients.

Providing utmost patient comfort and safety are key takeaways that manufacturers in the hospital furniture market have focused their innovations on. Companies, such as Inspace Healthcare Furniture, a hospital furniture manufacturer in Chennai, are increasing their production capabilities to deliver hassle-free availability of furniture and equipment even at a short notice. Quality assurance in furniture is another key aspect, which is helping manufacturers gain regional and global recognition.

In addition, emerging players are increasing their focus in both sleeping and sitting furniture. For instance, high-end healthcare furniture provider, Moments Furniture is acquiring proficiency in functional designs for products to manifest comfort for hospital patients. Such innovations are bolstering growth for the hospital furniture market, which is slated to register a high CAGR. Hospital furniture manufacturers are also broadening their portfolio in complete interior concepts made, especially for the care sector whilst keeping the ergonomics and comfort in mind.

Manufacturers are collaborating with experts in the field of hospital furniture in order to gain a competitive edge over other market players. They are setting their collaboration wheels in motion to partner with specialists in high-end care beds integrated with the cutting-edge technology.

The trend of contract production is becoming increasingly common in the hospital furniture market. The concept of personalized furniture is growing popular in the market landscape, with larger emphasis on the quality and refined finish of products. Manufacturers are adopting well thought-out concepts that revolve around the look, comfort, and hospitality of end users. High-performing hospital furniture is helping manufacturers gain global recognition.

The Indian hospital furniture industry is expected to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and witness growth by end of 2021. The growth of end-user entities including hospitals and home healthcare companies is expected to drive the growth of the industry. Indian medical tourism industry is growing at the rate of 18 percent Y-o-Y and is expected to reach ₹6300 crore by end of 2021, thereby showcasing the need of healthcare establishments. The adoption of higher quality and technology-centric products by local manufacturers is also expected to increase over the next 5 years.

Government initiatives such as Make in India and Ayushman Bharat scheme are expected to boost the healthcare furniture industry in India. A recent Crisil study observes that with insurance coverage of ₹5 lakh under the Ayushman Bharat scheme (up from ₹1-3 lakh under various government schemes), preference for private hospitals is rising. The study covering 41 leading domestic hospital firms revealed that the bed additions in tier II cities will be higher in future, resulting in better materialization of latent demand and adoption of Ayushman Bharat schemes. This will be supported by a rise in bed occupancy rates to 75 percent from 60-65 percent. Crisil expects 60-70 percent of bed additions to come up in tier II locations in the next 2-3 fiscals.

Direct sale is the most preferred method for reaching out to the end-users. Increasing focus on research and development and marketing activities, new product launches, partnerships were witnessed to be the driving factors in the industry.

The industry is highly competitive with around 220 manufacturing firms present in the market. The industry is still dependent on imports owing to the use of excellent quality and patient friendly products. Moreover, the raw material and the parts are imported majorly from China basis the low cost of products. The market is highly fragmented with the leading local players namely Midmark, Steelcraft, Narang Medical, PMT Healthcare, GPC Medical capturing. These players compete on the basis of parameters such as product pricing, distribution network, product quality, clientele, partnerships, product innovation, customer support and more.

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has led to a surge in the number of patients suffering from different respiratory conditions allied with other comorbidities. As a result, the demand for superior quality medical infrastructure is prevailing the overall industry demand. Also, with improvements in medical technology, healthcare services, and survival rate it is predicted that the medical furniture business in near future will have numerous growth opportunities.

The global hospital furniture market is estimated at USD 26.4 billion in 2020 and is projected to witness 6.7 percent CAGR from 2021 to 2026. The beds segment in the medical furniture market will observe around 8.4 percent growth rate till 2026 led by the large number of patients admitted in hospital settings for surgical measures. Medical furniture including medical beds are available in a wide range including hospital beds, nursing home beds, community beds, stretchers and pediatric beds. These beds consist of unique accessories that are designed to assist and support the patient’s long hospital stay impelled by slow injury healing rate that secures the market value. Different characteristics of medical furniture including enhanced ergonomics, ease of use and effective risk management foster the overall market revenue. Moreover, the COVID-19 situation will prove beneficial for market progression as it highly requires medical beds and other medical furniture for better patient care.

The wood material segment held more than 22.5 percent of the medical furniture market share in 2020. Government hospitals have usage to a variety of wooden chairs, wooden compartments, beds, cabinets for efficient storage of equipment. Due to the limited number of resources in public and government hospitals, preferences for wooden furniture prove profitable for the market expansion. Wooden chairs provide patient comfort and ease of flexibility for better relaxation thereby, surging its adoption rate. However, changing climatic conditions affect the material and may result in patient discomfort that will restrict the market demand to a certain extent.

Multiple benefits comprising the ease of transportation owing to easy availability and minimum weight are likely to impel the growth of the plastic furniture segment in the medical furniture market through the coming years.

The cost effectiveness of plastic furniture over metal and wood furniture is other factors contributing to segment expansion over the next 6 years. The plastic furniture segment held commendable revenue of more than USD 6.9 billion in 2020.

An increase in the geriatric population giving preference to homecare treatments is touted to augment the growth of the home healthcare segment in the hospital furniture market. The surging demand for home healthcare services in developing economies is also set to propel segment expansion in coming years. The home healthcare segment accounted for nearly 17 percent of the overall medical furniture market share in 2020.

In a nutshell, the increasing number of accidents leading to a rise in the rate of admissions in the intensive care units is poised to augment the hospital furniture market size, boosting industry landscape during 2020-2026.

North America medical furniture market accounted for around 10.7 percent revenue share in 2020. The significant market share is attributed to favorable government policies like reimbursements offered for medical furniture and other equipment. In addition, rising number of hospitals, clinics, and ambulatory surgical centers in the US and Canada will boost the demand for medical furniture to a greater extent.

The surging healthcare expenditure in the Asia-Pacific has resulted in an ample flow of cash in hospitals, leading to the incorporation of advanced hospital furniture in these settings. The Asia-Pacific market is anticipated to exhibit an appreciable CAGR of 6.7 percent through 2026.

Strong foothold of industry players such as Invacare and others proves beneficial for the market as different participants launch superior quality hospital furniture products for effective patient care propelling the industry growth.

Some of the prominent companies functioning in the medical furniture market include Steris, Skytron, GPC Medical, Herman Miller, Invacare Corporation, Kovonax, Getinge, Stiegelmeyer, Met-lak, Stryker, Biomedical Solutions, Promotal, Hill-Rom Holdings, and LINET. These market leaders are adopting various growth strategies and opportunities to capture higher revenue share in hospital furniture business.

Healthcare is changing, patient needs are changing, and hospitals are changing along with them. No one can be certain what the future will hold when it comes to patient room design, but the indications are clear: Patient-centered care and evidence-based design are primary drivers for decision makers at healthcare facilities across the globe.

Healthcare design is taking a direction that continues to home in on reducing infection risk and maximizes shrinking floor space. Facilities are looking for furniture with flexible applications to help meet needs for patients and their families for years to come.

Continued research, observation, and testing of medical furniture will become increasingly important as hospitals strive to stay ahead of the trends that will shape the healthcare environments of tomorrow.

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