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Wondering Stories: Haelvoet

Though 10 years ago, the Internet of Things still seemed like science fiction to many of us, Haelvoet was already researching the possibility of connecting hospital and nursing home beds and having them communicate with various apps. Today, Haelvoet Connect Solutions is very much reality. Copywriter Barbara Bataillie had a talk with CEO Vincent Haelvoet and General Manager Tom Preneel and got a glimpse of the care bed of the future.

Haelvoet Connect Solutions – The care bed that connects easily and communicates efficiently

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Long-term vision leads to innovative solutions

The Haelvoet story starts way back, in 1931, with the manufacturing of direct-to-consumer steel furniture. After World War II, Michel Haelvoet focused on care furniture. Today, the third generation is in charge and the family business is active all over the world, designing and manufacturing care furniture for hospitals, nursing homes and community care centres. “Driven by our long-term vision, we are always on the lookout for new solutions that offer added value. Haelvoet Connect Solutions not only makes life easier for the patient, but also for the care provider, through highly improving workflow efficiency”, says Vincent Haelvoet.

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Not a smart, but a connected bed

Haelvoet Connect Solutions is not a smart bed: “In our view, the bed in itself is part of the health facility and we want to integrate it into the workflow as a communication hub. Thus, we deliberately choose not to install a monitor with various programming options on a bed so as to make it smart, but rather to connect the bed to the existing systems within the health facility”, says Tom Preneel. “By integrating a communication card into the bed, you can connect it via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Just plug and play! Through this gateway we can update the software and create a sustainable solution that evolves along your needs.”

Our solution turns the bed into the central communication hub between various tools and services, improving efficiency and safety.

Vincent Haelvoet, CEO

Delivering efficiency on all fronts

The main driver behind this new technology is health care efficiency, manifesting itself on various levels. First of all, via an app on a smartphone or a display in the nurse station, the nurse can monitor the situation of the entire ward at a glance: is the bed in a safe position and is the patient in bed? “Thanks to this tool, nurses can make a risk-based priority list for their ward rounds. This not only improves patient safety, but it also saves time, thus providing a solution to nursing staff shortage”, Tom continues. In addition, facility and nursing staff can communicate directly via the bed to prepare the admission of new patients.

Haelvoet Connect Solutions furthermore promotes patient empowerment, which benefits not only care staff. “Patients who can help themselves, without the aid of a nurse, automatically feel better, which in turn has a positive impact on their recovery process.”

“The system also offers optimisation opportunities in terms of maintenance and after-sales services,”, Vincent continues. “By collecting data per bed, we can move on from curative and preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance and avoid the unnecessary replacing of certain parts. Take, for instance, a actuator, which has an average lifespan of 10,000 cycles. If the bed is used less intensively, this may possibly extend the motor’s lifespan. This is what we can learn from the data.”

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Anticipating the future

“In a few years’ time, a connected bed will be the new normal. That is why we already provide every bed with the ability to connect in the future”, Vincent continues. “In this way, hospitals and nursing homes avoid having to make a large investment unexpectedly, just to keep up with technological evolution.”

A connected bed will soon be the new normal. We are already preparing all our beds for that.

Tom Preneel, General manager

The sky is the limit

The more tools are connected to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, the more functions the bed has to offer. “We are now building data, gradually discovering all the possibilities the collected data have to offer. By connecting with other partners, we can offer an integrated solution, tailored to the needs of each hospital”, Tom claims. Finally, Haelvoet Connect Solutions also opens the possibility of a circular business model. “The technology allows us to offer a bed as a service, with health facilities renting beds instead of buying them”, Vincent concludes.

A test project is currently running at the Sint-Andries hospital in Tielt. If you want to know more about Haelvoet Connect Solutions, you can always contact them for an inspiring demonstration in the showroom.

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Haelvoet in short

Family business Haelvoet (°1931) is based in Ingelmunster and is globally active in the design and manufacturing of healthcare furniture for hospitals and elderly care.

  • 5 branches in Belgium, Romania, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands for direct sales
  • Global sales through distributors
  • High-tech production units in Belgium and Romania
  • 230 employees worldwide
  • Annual turnover of 20 million euros in Belgium
  • Strong focus on R&D and CSR
  • Complete furnishings of health facilities (Haelvoet Projects)
  • Ergonomic box springs, among other things, for the consumer market and healthcare industry (Hidden Design)

More information: www.haelvoet.be / info@haelvoet.be

Text by Barbara Bataillie (Moqo), images by Verougstraete.tv.


With the WONDERING STORIES series, Designregio Kortrijk brings unique stories of companies, organisations or designers to life in its network.