Written by Matt Marais
Having recently joined the team at Safehinge Primera, I attended my first Healthcare Estates conference and exhibition in Manchester, from the 10th-11th October 2017.
Alongside 200 other exhibiting companies, the event was a chance to catch up with our customers and partners, from clinical staff to estates teams and directors, inviting them to trial our full-size anti-barricade doorset and award-winning en-suite door.
As a new member to the team – and new to the Mental Health sector, I was meeting a lot of people for the first time and found it an eye-opening experience – admittedly, I wasn’t expecting the event to be so large so was slightly overwhelmed at first, but through observing my team converse with our stakeholders and familiarising myself with the industry terms, I felt more equipped to talk to our diverse range of customers and partners – it was great to find out more about their roles and what they thought of our products.
Plus, if my past few months at Safehinge Primera have taught me anything, it’s the importance of continuously welcoming feedback from the full spectrum of those who use our products, and working with them to develop our products. In the context of soft-launching our award-winning en-suite door, this event provided a great opportunity for us to meet clinicians, and estates and capital teams face-to-face to discuss the product – its practicality, functionality and overall aesthetic. Having prioritised the ligature safety features of the en-suite at the request of NHS and Private providers, I was now able to ask what other features they’d like to see incorporated into the door in the future.
Clinicians, for example, spoke to us about the potential for adding a lock-off function and our team have already begun to explore new ways to incorporate this feature into the door.
More specifically, the event gave me the chance to carry out research for one of our upcoming product developments – an observation panel, for which I am delighted to take on the role as lead design engineer.
As with all of our designs, conversation and observation is the very first stage of our design process, enabling us to converse with our diverse range of stakeholders and gain feedback on the overall concept of our new design – and this exhibition was a great opportunity for me to begin this.
Often when observing customers' difficulties using a product, we find a difference between what they think they want and what they need. So, by taking our existing vision panel along to the event, I had the chance to invite informal conversation around the product and observe delegates using it. This allowed me to gain a fuller understanding of what they required from a vision panel, as well gain insight into the limitations of existing options – it's this direct feedback that I am now using to generate a design brief for the product.
Having already booked to return next year, I thank IHEEM for hosting the event, and all the delegates who visited our stand and offered their feedback. I look forward to seeing you again next year.