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

September 1, 2016

The Scoop

Banner Health Cyberattack Brings  Layered Security Strategy into Focus

While cybersecurity remains top of mind for healthcare organizations, the importance of safeguarding servers and computers is underscored in the face of large attacks. The recent cyberattack on Phoenix-based Banner Health, which is the largest reported breach to date affecting 3.7 million individuals, has health systems reexamining their cybersecurity defenses.

When hackers accessed the computer servers of Banner Health, they appear to have done so by first infiltrating the point-of-sale systems at the health system's food and beverage outlets. From there, they seem to have been able to access other systems, including ones housing protected health information and sensitive information about employees and providers. This lack of segmentation poses a significant security risk to organizations, as just one system vulnerability can lead to a breach in other linked systems.  
Becker's Health IT & CIO Review, more...


Tech talk: IOT, Virtual Visits and Smart Hospitals;
Software Helps Seniors Take Control of Care

As proactive patients at ease with technology continue using tools to improve their own care, one company wants to make sure that the traditionally least tech-fluent among us isn’t left out of the “cloud.”

Daniel Strabley, a software developer, has used his expertise to create a system that helps to improve autonomy for patients suffering from cognitive issues. Strabley created the software for his grandfather-in-law, Walter Remiger, who recently moved from his farm to an assisted living facility. A simple clock Strabley built integrates photos from Remiger’s farm to communicate time of day and uses Amazon’s customizable Internet of Things buttons to send key alerts, such as medication reminders, doctor’s appointments, lunch and dinner schedules and even when games of his favorite sports teams will air.  Health Facilities Management, more... 

To Heal Our Hospitals, Embrace New Models

It is no secret that many of New York State’s hospitals are in trouble. Officially, 28 of them are on a “watchlist” created by the New State Department of Health because they are in serious financial distress and have little cash on hand to support operations. What this really means is that they are on the brink of collapse. They would very likely close if they did not receive hundreds of millions of dollars in state subsidies to keep their doors open.

While these facts are alarming, they are hardly new. A decade ago, the Berger Commission, named for its esteemed Chairman Stephen Berger (but formally called the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century), conducted a comprehensive review of health care capacity and resources in New York State. What was found then is equally true today: we “repeatedly identified communities whose needs could be well served with less than a full service hospital but which require more than an ambulatory care center… Creative and financially viable alternatives, such as free standing emergency rooms or community health centers with urgicare capabilities, could advance the achievement of a rightsized and restructured health care delivery system. The benefits could include enhanced access to services, less duplication, and amelioration of the economic impact of full hospital closures.” The Huffington Post, more...

Getting it Right with Mock-Up Designs

Sixty-three percent of respondents to the 2016 Hospital Construction Survey say they include patients in the design process of new facilities, and one way they do that is through testing design ideas in live mock-ups.

For instance, Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas created mock-ups before finalizing parts of its 2.8 million-square-foot campus. Some of the mock-ups were as simple as cardboard facsimiles while others were built as fully fitted-out replicas. Akron (Ohio) Children's Hospital used the same strategy in the design of its new location and created full-scale departmental mock-ups of its emergency department, ambulatory surgery department and neonatal intensive care unit. Both hospitals also included clinical staff to weigh in on the designs. 

The strategy also has been seen on display at health technology incubator MATTER, which collaborated with the American Medical Association (AMA) to open the AMA Interaction Studio, a 425-square-foot mock doctor's office where vendors and doctors can try out new equipment and technology in a lifelike setting. Health Facilities Management, more...

Customer-focused, Evidence-Based Facilty Promotes Better Health Care Delivery 

Design That Cares is the award-winning, essential textbook and guide for understanding and achieving customer-focused, evidence-based health care design excellence. This updated third edition includes new information about how all aspects of health facility design – site planning, architecture, interiors, product design, graphic design, and others - can meet the needs and reflect the preferences of customers: patients, family and visitors, as well as staff. The book takes readers on a journey through a typical health facility and discusses, in detail, at each stop along the way, how design can demonstrate care both for and about patients and visitors.

The book explains the need for humanistic, evidence-based health facility design, with chapters on arrival and exterior wayfinding, interior wayfinding and the circulation system, waiting and reception areas, diagnostic and treatment areas, as well as inpatient rooms and baths. Later chapters discuss access to nature, particular user groups, such as people with functional limitations, and unique places, such as Emergency Departments. The book concludes with a discussion of user participation in health facility design and practical methods for making this happen effectively.

Throughout the book, relevant research is flagged and research-based design guidelines are highlighted. At the end of each chapter, Design Review questions enable design decision-makers to knowledgeably assess documents, such as site plans, floor plans, functional space programs, and drawings, with an eye to the likely effects of proposed design features on intended users. For students, chapter summaries, learning objectives, and end-of-chapter review questions help facilitate a solid understanding. 
Design That Cares, Planning Health Facilities for Patients and Visitors, 3rd Edition,
​Janet R. Carpman and Myron A. Grant 



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.

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.






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 

designers, architects and healthcare providers to attend a workshop that explores how to work as a team to mitigate infection risk, 

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

September 15-16, 2016
Arlington, VA

Architects and interior designers play a key role in the future of infection prevention. And while designing to prevent infection is not a new concept, it is one that continues to evolve quickly. Research has shown that special attention to a systems-approach that includes HVAC design, materials, and space planning, can mitigate infection risk. But just who needs to be a part of the team that implements a systems approach? Join us as we define who needs to be considered, leadership perspectives and the latest technology developments, opportunities and challenges. 

Learn More and Register Today 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. 


Patient-Centered Medical Home Evaluation Checklist
This tool provides healthcare designers and professionals with patient-centered medical home principles/goals and how environmental, operational and people measures can be implemented to achieve said goal. 


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 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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