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

July 27, 2017

The Scoop

Recognition Matters

How often are we recognized for all the hard work we do?  Or for the critical contributions we make to projects? We're all often moving at such a fast pace, that we forget to stop, take a look around and offer recognition for a job well done. There's a great deal of research that shows a lack of acknowledgment has a direct impact on productivity. We at The Center want to harness the power of recognition and acknowledge those in our industry who utilize evidence-based design in projects. To that end, we are launching "The Evidence-Based Design Touchstone Awards". These awards – a natural next step in the EBD progression – recognize the use of the evidence-based design process in the pursuit of increasing value and improving outcomes and engagements for stakeholders. Awards are given to projects that show exemplary achievement across touchstones of the EBD process: collaboration, evaluation, and sharing. We are opening up submissions for these awards on August 4, 2017. Click here to learn more about these awards.  

In the meantime, make sure you get the following events on your calendar including:

All of these events offer you the chance to learn about new design strategies to help tackle even the most challenging design issues from today's leading content experts.

Stay up-to-date with all the learning opportunities we offer, both in-person and online, by viewing our website calendar

In the Insights and Solutions section of our website, we offer the resources and tools that will provide you with knowledge that's actionable, knowledge you can quickly incorporate into your projects, along with the latest industry news to see what others are doing. Here are just a few of the open resources you can find there:

As always, let me know what tools and resources are helpful to you, and we'll feature them in our future newsletters.

Be well,

Debra Levin, EDAC
President and CEO


Industry News Briefs


Tough Times for Healthcare Design and Construction, But Projects Are Doable

In some ways, designing and building healthcare facilities is almost as challenging as keeping the systems running efficiently and effectively, according to the speakers at a recent Seattle Healthcare event. Making projects pencil and providing the best possible design once they do are certainly no easy tasks in a time when uncertainty is the new norm in the healthcare industry. 

In Seattle, California, and other markets, construction costs are climbing — mostly because of the cost of labor. Subcontractors can be selective about the projects they undertake. That is a complete turnaround from seven or eight years ago.

It is good that Seattle is a booming market, but that puts even more pressure on developers to contain construction costs. For developers and designers of healthcare facilities, that is especially true, since healthcare space is so specialized and its construction is more labor-intensive than other property types. BISNOW, more. . .


Behavioral Health - Fixing a System in Crisis*

Each year, the nation’s health system spends billions of dollars trying to treat, manage and prevent an array of avoidable conditions that only continue to grow in prevalence.

Nearly two-thirds of all deaths annually are attributable to chronic conditions. Patients with chronic conditions account for 81% of all hospital admissions, 91% of all prescriptions filled and 76% of all physician visits. Roughly 86% of the $2.9 trillion spent on healthcare in 2013 was related to chronic disease.
Modern Healthcare, more . . .

* What impact do design decisions have on behavioral health outcomes? Join today's top experts on September 26, 2017 in Arlington, VA, at our next Pebble in Practice Workshop - "Behavioral Health—Strategic Facility Design Innovations that Improve Treatment Outcomes, Safety and the Bottom Line"  More information here.


Health Systems Build Microhospitals to Fill Community Gaps

Despite their small physical size, microhospitals are fast becoming a big thing in health care design.

Historically, hospital construction has been based on the premise of “build it and they will come,” says David Argueta, FACHE, president, CHI St. Luke’s Health — The Woodlands, Lakeside and Springwoods Village hospitals. Inpatient beds have defined a hospital or health system, in large part. “When we talk about health care systems and hospitals, part of the statistic is how many beds we have,” Argueta says. 

Today, priorities are shifting toward “driving the cost of health care down and building ambulatory access points that are focused on who we serve — really focused on the patient experience and their journey through health care. Finding a way to do that in a lower cost environment — that’s what everyone’s trying to do,” he says.  
Health Facilities Management, more ...


Making Room For Wound Care

More patients with chronic wounds that won’t heal unaided are seeking treatment in hospital and outpatient facilities. The prevalence of people with diabetes and pre-diabetes in the general population, higher rates of obesity, and aging baby boomers are fueling this demand, along with the rise of severe anemia, radiation tissue damage, burns, severe bacterial infection, and gangrene. Without proper care, these injuries can lead to further health problems or even amputation.

In response, healthcare organizations have been adding wound care units to deliver specialized care. A wound care unit typically includes a waiting area, exam rooms, a dressing area with lockers for patient changing, a sub-waiting area for patients waiting treatment, and a chamber room where treatment is delivered. There’s also a consultation room for patient and family discussions with clinicians and bathrooms for patients and clinical staff. Support spaces needed include tech work and physician charting areas, soiled holding, and equipment storage.
Healthcare Design,  more . . .






The Behavioral Health Facility Design Workshop 
Don’t miss this affordable, high-return day - a chance to learn from experts & re-charge your batteries

September 26, 2017
Hyatt Regency Crystal City
2799 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202

Workshop participants will learn about strategic design innovations that improve treatment outcomes, safety and the bottom line. Join us for a unique opportunity to learn from experts, idea-share with colleagues and re-charge your professional batteries to prepare you for today and tomorrow’s behavioral health challenges:

  • What role can the built environment play in solving the growing mental health and substance abuse crises?
  • What impact do your design decisions have?
  • Are you making use of the best and latest design solutions?

Design is making a difference in the lives of children and adults faced with these conditions, in the safety of the staff who treat and care for them, and in the financial and legal challenges faced by providers. 

Who Should Attend

This unique experience is ideal for individuals who are intending to design new mental and behavioral health facilities and those wishing to evaluate the quality of their existing facilities.

  • Healthcare architects, planners, designers, and consultants
  • Behavioral health facility or department directors, physicians, nurses and managers
  • Healthcare facilities and planning executives
  • Hospital executives with behavioral health department oversight
  • Product manufacturers

Get the Early Bird Rate! 


Learn more here.




Universal Design Strategies: Impact of Aging Considerations Checklist

This tool is meant to support a universal design approach to environments for aging populations. The following items should be considered as general guidelines (or “thought starters”), and not as comprehensive specifications. The considerations are best reviewed at the very beginning of a project, even before programming, to assess strengths, identify needs, and establish a vision for short- and long-term plans. Upon project completion, this tool can guide a discussion around implementing processes that align with the new design. Understanding the universal design approach can help your organization select the best strategies and design options for your project.

Enjoy this free resource here.




We invite you

to an upcoming EBD Journal Club: "Does Space Matter? An Exploratory Study for a Child–Adolescent Mental Health Inpatient Unit" 
August 16, 2017


The University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital Child–Adolescent Mental Health Inpatient Unit embarked on a renovation project to relocate the hospital’s child and adolescent mental health units. Evidence-based strategies were employed for the design of the new unit to enhance the experience for patients, staff, and families and to support changes in operational and procedural strategies.  This EBD Journal Club will explore design elements and spaces as a contributing influence to behavior and well-being for patients, staff, and families in a child–adolescent mental health unit.

More information here.

Want to Provide Your EBD Expertise?

Scott Christensen, a doctoral student at the University of Phoenix is in need of volunteers, with at least three years experience with healthcare construction in the US, to participate in three rounds of questionnaires related to the implementation of EBD in healthcare construction. Want more information? Write to Scott at

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 Design 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. 

To Age is Human: Universal Design Research and Trends

This webinar explores the idea that as people live longer, managing the needs of the aging population is more important than ever.  How can we design our environment to support health, wellness, and happiness both now, and in the future?


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.

Join our Community of Affiliates  •  Become a Pebble Partner  •  Donate
Ask Us About Volunteer Opportunities  •  Contact Us

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