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

August 18, 2016

The Scoop

Key Strategies to Reduce Healthcare Facility Costs and Maintain Operations

With increasing demand to reduce the cost of operation, healthcare leadership is challenging their facility engineers to increase efficiency of the buildings they manage. Healthcare owners are struggling with the need to improve the bottom line with limited capital to spend on projects even with the best rate of return. The return on investment is typically much more attractive and more visible when related to the addition of clinical services as opposed to an investment in infrastructure. However, studies have shown that when looking at the total lifecycle cost for a healthcare facility, 87 percent of the total cost is spent once healthcare owners start operating the new facility, with almost half of that cost allocated to utilities. The right approach during the planning, design and construction of a new facility can yield a positive return on investment and lower the overall cost basis for ongoing operations. 

As with any new endeavor, the challenge is to have the right strategy, process and tools and then utilize the latest technology and systems to achieve maximum efficiencies. Building Design + Construction, more...


Combining Privacy & Safety in Health Care Design

Privacy is a patient’s right even more so than it is a courtesy. While much has been made of protecting a patient’s medical information and files, it is equally important to safeguard a patient’s physical privacy during exams, consultations and hospital stays. Physical privacy provides comfort and dignity at a time when those in medical-need can be at their most vulnerable. As such, it is important that privacy solutions in exam rooms and other patient-sensitive areas are easily adjustable to balance ongoing staff monitoring with auditory and visual privacy.

Safety is another critical patient consideration — especially fire safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), thousands of fires occur in U.S. health care facilities each year. For example, between 2006 and 2010, the NFPA reports U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 6,240 structure fires in or on health care properties per year. Designing patient spaces for optimal fire safety is therefore essential. However, for health care building teams, this can prove challenging in areas requiring adjustable patient privacy.  HC+O News, more... 


Health System's 'Genius Bar' Links Patients' Devices for Better Engagement, Outcomes

Leaving her internist’s office at the Ochsner Center for Primary Care and Wellness in New Orleans, the elderly patient stops by the O Bar in the lobby.

This bar won’t serve her an alcoholic beverage. Nor a smoothie, nor a latte. She might, however, walk away with a new Fitbit on her wrist or a weight loss coaching app downloaded into her smartphone. The O Bar is a brightly lit tech support station sleekly appointed with stainless-steel stools, counter-mounted iPads and wall-mounted video displays. It’s modeled after the Genius Bar in Apple stores.

At the O Bar (O for Ochsner, of course), there’s a technician on duty to advise the patient on how best to fill the prescription that bears the doctor’s signature. He’s checked off two mobile computer apps appropriate to her health situation (from eight categories: nutrition, fitness, women’s health, oncology, diabetes, medication, smoking cessation and general health). He’s also recommended she consider outfitting herself with a chic, wrist-worn activity-tracking device (from a preprinted prescription list that also includes a Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose monitor, a wireless weight scale or a wireless blood pressure monitor). H&HN more...


Design in City: Ambulatory care tactics for the modern healthcare consumer

Ambulatory care providers in urban settings operate in an increasingly competitive environment. Especially in large cities, people often have a choice between healthcare facilities close to home, work or other frequent destinations. Thanks to smartphones and mobile apps like ZocDoc, there’s also a world of information at our fingertips.

With a few taps of the thumb, you can locate the nearest clinic, read crowd-sourced reviews, look up average wait times, find the menu and cost of procedures available and instantly book appointments. So much information is available to guide decisions about where to seek care that modern patients are increasingly becoming “healthcare consumers.”

So what does a healthcare consumer value? Convenience and affordability. Being able to walk in without an appointment and see a doctor within 30 minutes was the highest-rated attribute of all. MCD, more...


Building Wellness: Top Reasons Facility Assessments are Critical for Healthcare Organizations

In the healthcare environment, decisions to demolish, renovate or build new facilities are not to be taken lightly. Many healthcare systems are struggling with increasingly obsolete buildings, systems and facilities with diminishing budgets, especially in regard to operations and maintenance.

Healthcare regulations surrounding life safety and accessibility are getting stricter and more complex. It is critical for healthcare organizations to know how buildings and systems are performing, where there are optimization opportunities and when a facility’s maintenance, repair and replacement deficiencies might outweigh its monetary value to the organization. MCD, more...


These Hospitals Are Designed To Help You Heal Faster

Going to the hospital can kill you: Hospital-acquired infections and medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. But better hospital design can help.* Redesigning the layout of a nurse station or adjusting the noise levels in a medication room can reduce errors; redesigning ventilation systems can reduce the spread of infections.

Seven new medical center designs, the winners of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Healthcare Design Awards, show some of the ways that architects are making tweaks in the physical environment so patients can stay safer and get healthy more quickly.

"There's much higher awareness now of how healthy environments help patients heal," says Joan Suchomel, the leader of the AIA's Academy of Architecture for Health. "That is, in turn, related to evidence-based design studies that actually prove that—so it's not just intuitive, it's actually been proven in many instances. Fast CoExist, more...

* Want to learn more about all the elements to be considered when designing for infection prevention?  
Join us September 15 & 16 in Arlington, VA. at the Infection Prevention by Design Workshop. 
More infomation here.



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.

Aug 18
Evaluating Design Mock-Ups to Enhance Quality and Patient Care

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 

Sept 15
Evidence-based Design Tips for Art in Healthcare

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.





Risk Assessment as Standard Work in Design

This EBD Journal Club features host Sheila Bosch, PhD, LEED, AP, EDAC talking with Patricia W. Morrill, PMP, EDAC about her case study article, published in the HERD Journal, that examines a formal risk assessment as part of the decision making process for design solutions in high risk areas. An overview of the Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) tool is provided along with examples of its application in hospital building projects illustrating the benefit of those structured conversations

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

Infection prevention is a top concern for healthcare facilities. Architects and designers play a crucial role in addressing this concern and must stay ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding all the elements that need to be addressed in order to provide essential solutions.

This one and a half day workshop will explore how to mitigate infection risk and improve outcomes through a systems approach; one that includes design, materials, policies, team members from different disciplines, and education. Join us as we discuss who needs to be a part of a systems approach, along with the new research, technologies and strategies that are available. 

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. 

Research in a Snap 

Keep up-to-date with all the latest papers and citations added in the Knowledge Repository with the 
"Research in a Snap", a listing of all the most recent entries.


Design Insights and Strategies Tool

Three patient rooms are featured with this tool; the medical-surgical room, intensive care room and the maternity room.



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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