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

September 7, 2017

The Scoop

Anticipate, Participate, Integrate

Getting older does have its perks. Take for instance, the expanded perspective age provides. While we at The Center have always known, and in fact based our mission on the undeniable connection between building design and well being, it has been interesting to see how this concept has expanded discussions among both the design community and those in health professions. Teams of each are now meeting at the beginning of projects to discuss how the design of built environments can have long-term implications for quality of life. And while I welcome these collaborative discussions, I know the most success will come to those projects that start by reviewing and using relevant research. At the core of all The Center's educational offerings, tools and resources is extensive research.

Our latest offering is a free toolkit created with funding from our partner, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This Safety Risk Assessment (SRA) toolkit helps healthcare design teams proactively identify and mitigate built environment conditions that may impact patient and worker safety in healthcare environments.  Through extensive review of research, consensus building with industry experts, and pilot testing, the SRA toolkit was created to support the 2014 FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities.

The SRA targets six areas of safety (infections, falls, medication errors, security, injuries of behavioral health, and patient handling) as required in the FGI Guidelines.

The toolkit is:

  • a proactive process that can mitigate risk
  • a discussion prompt for a multidisciplinary team
  • an evidence-based design (EBD) approach to identify solutions.

The Safety Risk Assessment toolkit has been created through a consensus process of experts in the safety risk areas. It is intended for use with collaborative input of project and facility-based experience. The goal of this tool is to provide guidance to consider the underlying (latent) conditions that can lead to harm.There are even helpful "how-to" videos in this tool to help answer any question and make it easy to use.  

It's a busy time of year as we head into fall.  Which means there are lots of upcoming opportunities to recharge, learn about new design strategies, meet industry experts and get inspired.  We've got several upcoming events that will do just that -  make sure you pick up on some of this positive energy and get the following events on your calendar including:

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


Joint Commission Highlights Strategies to Minimize Noise, Distractions in OR

In a Quick Safety Issue, the Joint Commission delved into strategies to reduce unnecessary noise and distraction in surgical environments.

One strategy recommended is to first benchmark noise levels and then provide evidence for noise-reduction strategies and empirical data reflecting efficacy of such strategies. The facility also can provide real-time information to the OR team as to when noise levels are exceeding recommended levels.
The Joint Commission, more . . .


Public Hospitals Treat Greater Share of Mental Health Patients*

For people in New York with severe mental illness, the path to treatment has increasingly passed through the city’s public hospitals, even as health officials and private hospitals try to accelerate years of slow progress by providing people with better outpatient care.

A new report shows that treatment is being provided more and more by the city’s strained public hospital system, as financial pressures on some private hospitals drive them to divert psychiatric patients and close beds.

The number of mental health admissions at public city hospitals increased sharply over the five years ending in 2014, even as private hospitals shed psychiatric inpatients over the same period, according to the report, released last month by the city’s Independent Budget Office. The share of beds that public hospitals designated for psychiatric patients was more than three times greater than in private hospitals. The New York Times, more . . .

*Mental health and substance abuse issues have reached the crisis stage.These issues impact every type of healthcare facility and department. Are you working with the best and latest information to respond to these challenges? 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.


Architecture's Next Big Thing: Buildings that Make Us Feel Better

Forget style, functionality and aesthetics: architecture’s hot topic is how to design buildings that improve our health, both mental and physical. Cue indoor gardens, emotionally pleasing colour palettes, stairs in place of lifts … even animal enclosures.

The emblem of the next big thing in global architecture is a flight of stairs. Rising from the lobby of Frasers Property's headquarters in Rhodes, cheek-to-suburban-cheek with Sydney's Olympic Park, this broad stairwell of palatial dimensions is softened by a suite of Mondrian-coloured couches – bold red, cream and yellow – cascading down its centre. Visitors and staff cross paths in this stepped atrium. The Sydney Morning Herald, more . . .








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



Putting Evidence-Based Design into Practice Workshop

Thursday, September 14, 2017
8:30 am - 3​:30 pm 
New York, NY

Whether you are wondering what evidence-based design (EBD) is and why it’s important, or you are EDAC-certified and want to fine tune or grow your skills, then attend this in-depth workshop to work directly with industry experts to learn from their years of evidence-based design experience.

This workshop is designed to provide an in depth review of the EBD process to help designers and clients understand how to integrate EBD into projects. The day will prepare you to be a better partner or client by providing you with the knowledge and tools to address the challenges facing healthcare today. Attend on your own, or consider attending as a team to learn together how to integrate the EBD process.  

Click here for more workshop information




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 submit your project application to the EBD Touchstone Awards: 

This award – a natural next step in the EBD progression – recognizes the use of an evidence-based design process in the pursuit of increasing value, improving outcomes, and engagement of stakeholders. Awards are given to projects that show exemplary achievement across touchstones of the EBD process: collaboration, evaluation, and sharing.

Award Criteria: Using a detailed evaluation matrix — created by The Center and based on more than two decades of work and collaboration across the health design community — submissions will be judged based upon their success in achieving identified criteria in the following three categories:

Collaborate: Submissions must demonstrate interdisciplinary team and stakeholder education, engagement and development.

Evaluate: Submissions must demonstrate the extent to which research was found, evaluated, and applied to link design to outcomes and measurement of results.

Share: Submissions must demonstrate how the EBD process was applied and how the knowledge gained was disseminated, captured, and has the potential for application to future projects.

Awards are determined based on how well the project meets criteria to achieve different levels of recognition. Applicants are not compared to one another; only against award criteria. Those who submit to the awards program by September 15, 2017 and are awarded an EBD Touchstone Award will be recognized at the Healthcare Design Expo & Conference on November 11, 2017. 

More information here.

EBD Touchstone Awards Legacy Sponsor:

CODAworx Announces 2017 CODAawards Winners

The 2017 CODAawards celebrate design projects featuring commissioned artwork in interior, architectural, and public spaces. Now in its fifth year, the program received 465 entries from 21 countries around the globe, representing over $143 million USD in commissions. Winners were chosen by an esteemed international jury, demonstrating amazing creative collaborations in Healthcare and 9 other design categories.

The CODAworx team is on a mission to transform every space in the world by making more amazing commissions happen.

We invite you to see the winning projects from these extremely talented artists today on CODAworx.


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. 


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 Need for Infection Control Specialists and Designers to Build on Common Ground, an interview with Jesse Thomas Jacob, MD

Learn about: the three main ways pathogens are spread in a healthcare facility, why infection control specialists and designers need to work as a team for best results and ​why more research is needed to determine the impact of specific design features on infection control.

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

© 2017 The Center for Health Design

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