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Plan & Design

5 ways to upgrade your healthcare elevator for safety and reliability

From A to B swiftly and safely. That’s what patients and doctors expect from elevators in healthcare facilities. Here’s how to Modernize your elevators and create the best experience.


If you watch the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, you know that the elevators played an import role to create scenes of intense excitement in the series and entire articles have been written about the role the elevators played in the series. In reality, a patient’s elevator journey should be drama-free and effortless.

In this piece, we look at five ways of modernizing your healthcare elevators to make sure it stays that way:

  • Keep traffic moving and make your elevator system more efficient
  • Improve elevator control and flexibility
  • Make elevators more comfortable for all users
  • Keep equipment clean and damage free
  • Prevent breakdowns and minimize future disruptions

In healthcare environments, every second counts. Medical staff rely on fast and reliable elevators when transporting ill or injured patients. It’s vital to update the elevator equipment in your healthcare facilities before things start to go wrong.

Here’s how you can get the most from your elevator modernization.


1. Keep traffic moving with a destination dispatch system

In a hospital or healthcare facility, you need to minimize wait times and keep people moving through the building smoothly. But when you take an elevator out of service for modernization, you increase the pressure on the remaining elevators. A destination dispatch system solves this problem.

A destination dispatch system, such as Schindler’s PORT Technology, works best when the system has more than three elevators. Passengers are directed to an elevator based on their desired destination, allowing the system to reduce the number of stops and get people to their floor faster. You can install a destination dispatch system before you start your elevator modernization. Then, when you take one elevator out of service, the others pick up the slack. Once your modernization is finished, you continue to see the benefits of improved efficiency and traffic flow.

2. Improve elevator control and flexibility – even in an emergency

In a healthcare setting, you need elevators you can manage easily, even during the busiest times. A new controller gives you that flexibility, allowing you to include functions like reservation for cleaning, special and preferential control. Code Blue is an extremely useful function that should be included in all healthcare elevator systems. It overrides any existing calls, giving priority to emergency situations. 

The latest controllers also monitor your equipment and detect even small drops in performance. This allows your elevator service provider to find potential problems before they cause a breakdown of your equipment. In some cases, they can even service the elevator remotely to minimize the number of people in the building.

3. Make elevators more comfortable for all users

Safety and comfort are two of the most important requirements of any elevator, but especially an elevator in a healthcare facility. By modernizing your elevators, you can improve the experience for all users.

New landing doors help your elevators meet the highest safety standards. Previously, single photocell sensors were commonly used to detect obstacles. These systems work, but they’re not very sensitive. Today, a light curtain is the norm. Sensors are placed around the door so that even the smallest obstacle can be detected.

For injured patients or those recovering from surgery, elevator vibrations can feel particularly jarring. New machines featuring Suspension Traction Media (STM) make the journey smoother. Meanwhile, upgraded systems offers passengers a quieter ride and improved stopping accuracy.

4. Keep equipment clean and damage free

One of the biggest challenges in a hospital is minimizing the risk of patients developing secondary infections. Elevators are among the busiest areas in a hospital–places where pathogens can be transmitted between patients - so it’s extremely important to be able to clean them quickly and easily.

COVID has caused a leap forward in elevator sanitation technology. Solutions, such as Schindler CleanMobility products, help to eliminate bacteria and viruses on elevator surfaces and reduce the physical contact a passenger needs to have with buttons. When an elevator is empty, UV lights disinfect the air and surfaces inside the car. Sensor technology and QR codes can now be used to call an elevator, so there’s no need to press buttons. These innovations were developed to address the concerns of passengers during the pandemic but, in the longer-term, they will remain effective solutions for hospitals too.

Stainless steel fixtures and panels also make it simple to sanitize your elevator cars. You can also install bumper rails to protect the elevators from damage caused by stretches and wheelchairs accidentally hitting the walls. You can fix bumper rails at different heights and select from stainless steel, PVC or wood, depending on your needs.

5. Prevent breakdowns and minimize future disruptions

The final, but by no means least important, benefit of modernizing your elevators is improved reliability. It’s an obvious fact that replacing worn-out components reduces the chance of breakdowns.

What’s more, new technology, like the Schindler Ahead service, allows you to continually monitor the performance of your elevators. Sensors installed in the elevator system find potential problems so your service provider can fix them before a breakdown occurs. 


Modernizing your healthcare elevators easily

If you’re planning to modernize the elevators in a healthcare facility, there will be challenges to overcome. But, with the right provider and plan in place, these can be managed easily. The solutions we’ve explored in this piece are all designed to help your modernization run smoothly. By making use of the latest technology, you can make sure your elevators perform their best and the elevator drama stays on TV.

There’s no reason to leave your healthcare elevators in the past.