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

July 26, 2018

The Scoop

Shared Purpose, Shared Vision

Our community is both amazing and diverse. Over the past 25 years, The Center has been influencing the ways in which healthcare envionments are designed and built. But, our work and the resources we provide, depend on the commitment of our community which includes many people from different sectors, all working to support a common mission. This collaboration and support comes to us through a variety of different types of relationships, including our partners, sponsors, members, educators and volunteers who work with our dedicated staff toward common goals, sharing case studies, participating in virtual and in-person educational events, and helping us to create and produce tools and resources that propel our industry forward. 

We recently announced the launch of our Safety toolbox - a library of expert insights, case studies, research data, strategies and tools -  all available free to the industry thanks to our partnership with Grainger. This toolbox empowers healthcare organizations, designers, suppliers and others involved in the planning, design, construction and operation of healthcare facilities with pertinent tools and solutions to address the many different safety challenges. 

Maybe you and your team are looking for a way 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:

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

Inova Health System Following Trend to Inpatient Behavioral Health

The hallways of Inova Health System's newest inpatient mental health unit gleam white and new.

With all private patient rooms, they look very much the style of patient rooms popping up in brand new hospital towers around this region of the country.  And despite safety design features—such as hidden sensors to help monitor patients at risk for self-harm and doors that are built to be barricade-proof—that is what Inova hopes patients will see in the newly renovated unit.

"Three years ago, we embarked on this journey to increase behavioral health beds with the knowledge that we really needed to find more specialized care for our patients outside of a general psychiatric population. We do that with any other type of illness," said Michelle Mullany, Inova's assistant vice president of behavioral health. 

Later this month, the hospital will open that behavioral health inpatient unit with one floor dedicated to adolescents and another for adults. FierceHealthcare, more . . . 


The AIA Academy of Architecture for Health’s Case Study Library

Architects, designers and planners usually conduct literature reviews, site and facilities tours, and occasionally put together informal “case studies” for their clients and teams to review before beginning a new project. The AIA/AAH Research Initiatives Committee proposed a new and more formal format for these type of informal case studies with the idea that increased rigor will improve the quality of the case studies and eventually lead to more detailed POE studies by researchers.

In 2016, the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health began a pilot case study project utilizing the UCLA Outpatient Surgery and Cancer Center Project (one of the 2013 AIA/AAH Healthcare Design Award winning projects). This was followed up in the spring of 2017 with additional case studies utilizing six of the seven 2016 AIA/AAH Healthcare Design Award winners as the first phase of a case study formatting project with the goal of “bridging the gap” between research and practice by creating a Case Study Library located on the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health’s website. Since that time, another 14 case studies have been added with plans to add another 12 before the end of the year.  
AIA KnowledgeNet, more. . .


Designing to Bring Primary, Behavioral Care Together

The majority of behavioral health diagnoses are made in the primary care setting, placing primary care physicians in an ideal position to create a cohesive treatment plan for patients with concurrent physical and behavioral health conditions. For example, a patient who suffered a heart attack may also require care for depression, a common comorbidity that if treated properly can significantly reduce the odds of a future heart attack.

However, primary care physicians may lack the time and expertise required to provide prolonged support for more complex behavioral health conditions, driving the need to integrate behavioral health and primary care services in a single setting. Healthcare organizations around the country are beginning to adopt this practice, recognizing that coordinated care reduces the burden on the primary care provider, improves health outcomes and cost effectiveness, and ultimately enhances quality of care.

To help support these outcomes, designers are optimizing built environments where clinicians can easily collaborate in a single space and deliver integrated treatment plans.  
Healthcare Designmore . . .


5 Ways Design is Transforming Behavioral Healthcare

Today, more than 40 million American adults suffer from a mental-health condition, and half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14. Despite these overwhelming statistics, the negative stigmas associated with mental illness, combined with a scarcity of clinicians and facilities, resulted in over half of those with behavioral health conditions forgoing treatment last year. 

This population is among the most marginalized in the U.S. healthcare system, but we are seeing more and better in- and out-patient and research facilities coming on line every day. What we know from recent post-occupancy evaluations and working closely with clinical staff is the critical role that design plays in removing the stigma associated with psychiatric care, normalizing the care environment, and improving patient outcomes.

Here are five ways design is transforming behavioral healthcare:
Building Design & Construction, more . . .





We invite you

to an upcoming webinar on August 23: 

Demystifying Patient Data: Using Medical Records in Healthcare Design Research

Patient-level medical records data has been a largely untapped resource in healthcare design research, despite its potential to help our field generate stronger evidence of the impact of design on patient outcomes. This webinar will highlight how patient data can be used in research, discuss the process of requesting and acquiring patient data, and explain how to conduct analyses to test design hypotheses. 

Join us to hear how to engage healthcare organizations in design research using patient data, while complying with the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

More information and registration 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 Resources How-To-Videos

There is a great deal of information found in the Knowledge Repository. You may have questions about the best way to use this resource. So we created three short video tutorials that include: "About the Knowledge Repository", "How to Read a Key Point Summary" and "How to Do a Search" that may help you to maximize the impact of the information contained in this repository.

Clinic Design Post-Occupancy Evaluation 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

There are five tools that make up this toolkit designed to collect a variety of data on the physical environment, subjective perception of users, and objective healthcare outcomes. 
Read more 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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Concord, CA 94520
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