updated 3/23/2010 2:37:31 PM ET 2010-03-23T18:37:31

Gone are the fiddly little ties that open at the worst possible time: Hospital gowns that snap down the side are being promoted in Britain in a bid to improve the hospital experience for sick people.

The British government and the Design Council backed the project. Designers were given 25,000 pounds ($37,500) each to develop prototypes.

Among the products is a jaunty, striped hospital gown by U.S.-born designer Ben de Lisi. It includes a pouch for a mobile phone, and comes with a snugly fleece blanket. Crucially, it opens with side snaps — and not at the back, like the traditional hospital gown.

Ultra-comfortable beds and chairs modeled on first-class airplane seats were also unveiled Tuesday.

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