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2017 Evidence-Based Design Touchstone Award Recipients




Realizing Improved Patient Care through Human Centered Design in the Operating Room, submitted by The Center for Health Facilities Design and Testing at Clemson University


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This project is made possible by 4-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The grant supports the development of a learning lab to create an evidence-based framework and methodology for the design of operating rooms. It uses a socio-technical approach to create an optimal, ergonomically-sound operating room that results in improved patient and staff safety. The solutions that emerge from this learning lab will be implemented and evaluated in the new Medical University of South Carolina’s Ambulatory Surgery Center in Charleston, South Carolina.



Jersey Shore University Medical Center, submitted by EYP Health


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Planning of the $300 million expansion and renovation began in 2006. The architects, administrators, physicians, and staff envisioned a project that would dramatically change the delivery of healthcare to the community that the hospital has served for more than 100 years.  This project was conceived to create a patient and staff experience second-to-none, and to ensure that the rapidly growing needs of the community were met for generations to come. The leadership of the hospital and the system committed to improving the patient experience, including patient safety, through the use of evidence-based design strategies, advanced technology, and incredible customer service. 

St. Anthony Hospital and Medical Campus, submitted by Earl Swensson Associates, Inc.


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The design of St. Anthony Hospital, a seven-story, 224-bed, Level 1 Trauma Center in Lakewood, Colorado, was driven by evidence-based design, prioritizing patient safety, as well as staff safety and efficiencies. Relocating nursing staff from a facility with a centralized, racetrack inpatient unit design to a facility with specific EBD features provided a unique opportunity to investigate nurses’ experiences of their work environments pre- and post-relocation. A research study was conducted to evaluate whether or not there was a difference in steps taken and energy expenditure among acute care nurses when their work environment moved from a hospital with centralized nurses’ stations to a hospital with decentralized nurses’ stations. Results showed significant reductions in nurses’ energy expenditure and steps taken post-relocation. Overall, nurses’ job satisfaction was high and improved post-relocation, and patient falls decreased by 55%.





Akron Children’s Hospital Kay Jewelers Pavilion, submitted by HKS, Inc.

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Akron Children’s expanded its campus with a 368,000-square-foot critical care tower, responding to significant growth in patient numbers combined with an aging facility that was unable to handle the rising volumes. Called “Building on the Promise,” the tower features a 100-bed NICU, a 6-bed high-risk obstetrics program, a 39-bay pediatric emergency department with 14 fast-track and 5 behavioral health rooms, 6 outpatient surgical suites and clinical space for pediatric sub-specialty programs. The NICU rooms are designed to be converted into a PICU, should they be needed. The hospital is situated across from a major park, which allows ample views to nature. The main lobby is designed to be an extension of the park and features a “tree house” theme. The project also included an expansion of the Ronald McDonald House of Akron, a 6-level, 1,200-space parking deck and a new “front door” for the hospital – a child-focused patient and visitor welcome center that will streamline access to the campus. The project also earned LEED Gold Certification.

Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin, submitted by HGA Architects and Engineers

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The project team for this new medical-surgical unit used Dr. John Kotter’s eight-step change management theory and evidence-based design research to ease users in adapting to Lean design concepts and care delivery changes. The new unit decentralizes care to the bedside. During pre-design, research tools such as direct shadowing and semi-structured interviews of multiple user types were implemented. The information and data gathered were applied to the eight-steps of change management. As predicted, post-occupancy results confirmed that nurses had become significantly more efficient in their workflow process. Other findings include a significant improvement in key patient satisfaction scores.

The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center Alkek Tower Expansion, submitted by HKS, Inc.

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This Expansion Project is a 12-floor, 500,000-square-foot, 192-bed vertical expansion on top of an operational 12-floor existing bed tower. The project was designed to expand inpatient bed capacity, optimize amenity space for patients, staff, families, and visitors, improve inpatient unit work flow and circulation, optimize nursing time, and mitigate current inpatient unit equipment storage issues. Larger patient rooms and enhanced family spaces resulted in consistently high satisfaction scores. The data demonstrate that decentralized nursing units results in quality of work improvements associated with documentation, medication, and supplies. Since this project was completed in 2011, design strategies for the project have become standards for all subsequent inpatient projects.

Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation, submitted by HDR, Inc.

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VCBR is a confined facility treating formerly incarcerated sexually violent persons since 2008. In 2013, HDR was selected to design a much-needed expansion and renovation for the facility. The project will support capabilities to rehabilitate residents via the provision of a multi-tiered environment allowing increasing responsibility and self-management as they progress through the treatment program. An ongoing research study focuses on the hypothesis that the architectural design of the expansion will improve specific resident outcomes both while committed and after release. In addition, the project aims to create a supportive environment for staff, potentially decreasing absenteeism, turnover, and injuries due to resident aggression.