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The Center for Health Design - CURRENTS Newsletter
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The Center for Health Design - Currents Newsletter

July 21, 2016

The Scoop

Boston Medical Center Uses 'Green Steam' to Reduce Carbon Footprint

Boston Medical Center (BMC) recently signed a 20-year agreement to use “Green Steam” to help meet its thermal energy needs. The agreement was formed with Veolia, a global resource management group, which has supplied BMC with steam for its heating, hot water, humidification and sterilization needs for more than 25 years.

Green Steam, which is a byproduct of electricity generation, is created by recapturing thermal energy that otherwise would be wasted. BMC estimates that adding Green Steam to its mix will eliminate 8,500 tons of carbon emissions annually, equivalent to removing 1,700 cars from the road. It also will help the medical center to meet a challenging sustainability goal to reduce its carbon footprint. Health Facilities Managementmore...

Physicians And Healthcare Administrators:
Friends Or Foes?

We are amidst one of the most dynamic moments in healthcare delivery—and the relationship between those who deliver care and those who administrate it has never been more tense, challenged, or fractured.

Where did things go wrong?

The simplistic explanation is that change is hard—and the healthcare industry is changing more rapidly than anyone is able to keep up with. There is certainly some truth to this, but it misses a bigger—not to mention potentially fixable—problem. The relationship between those who administrate care and those who deliver care has never been more strained because at a very basic level, both groups don’t understand or trust one another.

Solving the challenges facing American healthcare will require a distinctly different type of relationship between physicians and administrators than currently exists in most health systems around the country.

Four guiding principles can help jump-start the effort. Forbes, more... 


Could The Future Of Health Care Mean No Waits In Hospitals?

As medical treatment is impacted by technology, consumerization, and the mobile revolution, we may see a world where your doctor already knows why you’re sick and can treat you over the phone—leaving the hospitals for the true emergencies.

There’s a video featuring the Kaiser Foundation which projects a 1950’s glimpse of the "ultra-modern hospital" offers the promise of all things streamlined and expedited, and includes amenities ranging from advanced lighting fixtures that promise no shadows during surgery to sliding baby drawers that provide mothers with easy access to their newborns (an idea ahead of its time as far as maternal-infant bonding benefits were concerned).

When you watch this video now, more than 60 years later, there’s something comical about the predictions provided. Still, at that time, we can imagine how this vision would have seemed Earth shattering. In the 1950s, the first color televisions and McDonald’s appeared so it’s not surprising that things like remote control doors could really "wow" the general public. 

Let’s fast forward to where we are today, however. As a chief medical information officer and clinician, I’m tasked with keeping my finger on the pulse of what’s happening both in health care and in the real world as it relates to advancements in technology. Now, more than ever, these two worlds are colliding. The consumerization of health care has begun and the idea of doctor as driver and patient as bystander is nothing short of archaic. Today, the clearly demarcated lines between patient and caregiver are becoming blurred as patients ar e tasked with stepping up to the plate and actively engaging in their own health and well-being. Fast Company Co-Exist, more...


Study: Internet of Things Impacts Building Maintenance Strategies

A recent study commissioned by Schneider Electric shows how the Internet of Things (IoT) and building maintenance strategies are converging. 

The survey of 400 facility leaders working in data centers, commercial and industrial buildings, retail, healthcare, education, and government revealed that 60 percent of the respondents indicated that IoT will impact their building and maintenance policies within the next year. 

Sixty-five percent of the managers are also planning to increase investment in building capital expenses this year, including advanced building technologies that manage and glean insights from new data sets.  facilitiesnet, more...


Insiders: Health Care's 'Uber Moment' Isn't Here Yet

Hospitals and doctors are increasingly deploying technologies to provide on-demand care and remotely manage patients — but we're still far from realizing the full promise of telemedicine.

That's according to health care IT leaders and thinkers who participated in POLITICO's health IT advisory forum last week.


Healthcare’s Water Conversation Efforts Have Ripple Effect

Reducing energy consumption isn’t the only area where healthcare organizations and designers are making a positive environmental impact these days. In response to rising water and sewage rates, changing regulations, and the increasing occurrence of extreme weather conditions, more facilities are starting to look for ways to reduce their water consumption, as well.

As part of its Major Institution Master Plan, Seattle Children’s Hospital set a goal to reduce water and energy use by 50 percent by 2030. “Seattle has some of the highest water/sewer costs in the U.S.,” says Colleen Groll, sustainability program manager at Seattle Children’s. “We need to future-proof our operations so we’re not burdened by soaring utility costs, and to fulfill our mission to children, we need to conserve energy and water for future generations.” 

The facility’s strategies ranged from installing low-flow plumbing fixtures in older parts of campus to fixing a leak on its therapy pool. The combined efforts resulted in savings of more than 1 million gallons of water a year. Healthcare Design, more .. 




The Center’s work is made possible with the funding support of our Thought Leaders:



ICONS and Innovator Webinar Series

These high-quality, affordable, thought-provoking and convenient learning events provide opportunities to inform your work strategies, obtain continuing education units (CEUs), and engage with industry icons and innovators who are championing change. Click on any of the upcoming webinar links below to get more information about the speakers and learning objectives and to register.


July 28
Evidence-based Design Tips for Art in Healthcare

Aug 25
The Green Road Project: Healing Via Nature for Wounded Warriors

Sept 1
Undercover Masterplan: Design as a Catalyst to Unite Two Hospital Systems

Sept 8
Creating Safer Spaces in Healthcare: Impacts, Performance, and Outcomes of Rubber Flooring in Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act 


All past ICONS and Innovators webinars are available on demand for viewing at your convenience.  These webinars can be offered to your team as a professional development program from the convenience of their home or office and are an ideal way to receive continuing education credits.
More information here.





Clinic Design POE Toolkit

Evaluation and feedback are key to improving the built environment, especially when it involves the larger community. A post-occupancy evaluation (POE) of an ambulatory care building can provide insight on: 

  • identifying and solving problems in the built environment
  • fine-tuning the building according to user needs and feedback
  • ongoing building adaptions due to changing organizational needs

Enjoy this free resource here.


We invite you

to a workshop that explores how to mitigate infection risk,

Infection Prevention by Design –A Systems Approach for Surfaces in Healthcare Facilities 

September 15-16, 2016
Arlington, VA

On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection. Environmental surfaces have been a focal point for infection control intervention for decades. However, even with routine and terminal cleaning of room surfaces and medical equipment, these measures alone still often fall short. 

Now, new research, technologies and strategies are pointing to the effectiveness of a systems approach – an integration of design, policies and protocols, and compliance and behavior – in improving outcomes and mitigating infection risks. Workshop attendees will participate in an interactive forum lead by industry experts including infection preventionists, environmental services leaders, facility managers, industry partners, and design specialists and will explore the importance of integrating the available options to continually improve outcomes and mitigate the risk of infection. 

Learn more and register here. 


Classic Resources

Free resources and tools to advance best practices and demonstrate the value of design to improve health outcomes, patient experience of care, and provider/staff satisfaction and performance. 

Knowledge Repository

A complete, user-friendly library of healthcare design resources that continues to grow with the latest research, start with our Knowledge Repository for all of your searches for articles and research citations on healthcare design topics. 
Keep up-to-date with all the latest papers and citations added with the May-June, 2016 "Research in a Snap", a listing of all the most recent additions.


EBD Journal Clubs

Evidence-Based Design (EBD) Journal Clubs are free, open to all and provide one EDAC/AIA CEU. These sessions provide opportunities to interact with authors who have recently published EBD papers and articles in peer-reviewed journals such as HERD and learn as they share ways to put their research into practice.   See all past and upcoming EBD Journal Clubs, here.



The Center for Health Design is a nonprofit 501c(3) organization whose mission is to transform healthcare environments for a healthier, safer world through design research, education and advocacy. Looking for ways to support our work? Contact us.

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