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

August 9, 2018

The Scoop

Providing a Legacy

We are all creating our own legacies and they continue to evolve with every action we take. Meaningful legacies are about sharing what we've learned, making a powerful and lasting contribution by serving a cause greater than your own. They can serve as pathways leading the next generation to continue the mission of one's work. It is likely that you know of someone who daily contributes to their legacy through selfless acts that have a ripple effect that positively impacts the world. We at The Center will be featuring just such an individual at this year's Healthcare Design Expo & Conference. 

Francis Murdock Pitts, FAIA, FACHA, OAA, has been named as the 2018 Changemaker Award recipient by The Center for Health Design’s Board of Directors. Given annually at Healthcare Design Expo & Conference, the award honors individuals or organizations that have demonstrated exceptional ability to change the way healthcare facilities are designed and built, and whose work has had broad impact on the advancement of healthcare design. Frank Pitts, founding partner and president of architecture+, is an advocate, educator, and designer, and is internationally recognized for his impact on the design of healthcare facilities with particular recognition for his groundbreaking work in the planning and design of psychiatric facilities. 

For nearly 40 years, Frank has been a leader in a movement that has resulted in the re-imagination of the psychiatric hospital as a building type; one that confounds the stigma of mental illness and provides examples, lessons, and inspiration for mental health providers and architects throughout the world. He is a pioneer in the understanding and implementation of two interrelated movements impacting hospital design: evidence-based design and therapeutic environments. Recognized as an advocate for broader dissemination of scientific evidence that healthcare environments have a profound influence on patient recovery, he has used this work as a means to fundamentally rethink the environments in which psychiatric and cognitive care, in particular, are provided. His House-Neighborhood-Downtown model for mental health facilities and the creation of smaller cluster-based residential treatment settings within larger inpatient units, are the product of extensive research, collaboration with clinicians, interaction with mental health patients and their families, continuing observation, and imagination about the potential for environments to support healing.

A frequent writer, lecturer, and panelist, he is committed to sharing his expertise with the architectural, medical, and scientific communities. He has spoken about psychiatric care, the relationship between architecture and neuroscience, and healthcare design in the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe. 

You can see Frank both at the Changmaker Award Ceremony at Heathcare Design Expo & Conference in Phoenix as well as at our upcoming Behavioral Health Facility Design Workshop in Baltimore. More information on this workshop can be found in the right-hand column of this newsletter.

Speaking of education and community, make sure you 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

Patient Satisfaction, Market Needs Drive Healthcare Renovation Trends

From updated emergency departments to microhospitals and specialty facilities, renovation and construction trends in healthcare focus on meeting patient and market needs while navigating an unpredictable legislative landscape.

At the end of 2017, more than 15,000 healthcare construction projects were underway in the United States, with an expected 3.5 percent growth in healthcare spending in 2018, according the American Institute of Architects.

Among the top renovation/construction trends are emergency department upgrades, micro-hospitals, acute care facilities and upgrades to energy management systems, operating rooms, hospital pharmacies and patient rooms. 
Healthcare Facilities Today, more . . .


Protecting Safety, Preserving Peace: A New Standard in Mental Health Security Screening

No one would contest that the work mental healthcare employees do is demanding – yet plenty of people outside the field would assume it’s only hard mentally and emotionally. What many don’t realize is that it’s also often demanding physically, because of the high risk of injury.

Three-quarters of all workplace assaults occur in the healthcare industry, and workplace violence is even more prevalent in mental health; almost one in five patients admitted to acute psychiatric units may commit an act of violence. The more extreme cases involve contraband like lighters or weapons – knives, guns, razor blades – that are brought into facilities from outside either by patients or their visitors.

It’s not just employees who need to worry about violence within mental health facilities. Patients, too, are at risk if another patient brings in or obtains a weapon or other restricted item while in a facility – and this can create a multiplier effect in which patients try to bring their own weapons in, thinking they need to protect themselves from others. 
EHS Today, more. . .


Hospital Utilization Slows as Healthcare Moves to Cheaper Care Settings

Hospital utilization is slowing down in its growth, according to a recent survey of hospital administrators. The trend underscores the shift across the healthcare system away from high-cost settings toward lower-cost outpatient utilization.

Across inpatient, outpatient, emergency department (ED) and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), acceleration in utilization slowed during the second quarter of 2018 and year over year, according to the survey by Leerink Partners.

Inpatient utilization accelerated 0.7 percent during the quarter, compared to 0.8 percent in the first quarter. ED utilization acceleration dropped from 1.6 percent growth in the first quarter to 0.9 percent in the second.  
Health Execmore . . .




Consider the needs of behavioral health patients in every healthcare space you design

Behavioral Health -  Strategic Design Innovations that Improve Treatment Outcomes, Safety and the Bottom Line

Date:  September 27, 2018
Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor

300 Light Street
Baltimore, MD

The challenges created by today’s growing mental health and substance abuse crises reach far beyond the behavioral health unit into emergency departments, outpatient clinics and throughout acute care settings.

To support improved care and enhance staff safety, today’s design, facility and care professionals have to advance their understanding of design’s impact on behavioral health care and learn how to incorporate the best and latest design solutions throughout the healthcare setting.

Real World Experiences.
Future-looking Insights.

Hear the industry's leading behavioral health facility design experts share how design is making a difference in the lives of children and adults faced with behavioral and mental health conditions. They’ll share real world experiences and future-looking insights into:

  • The implications of your design decisions
  • Innovative and effective design strategies that support behavioral health populations
  • Case studies of state-of-the-art facilities
  • Existing standards and behavioral health models


More workshop information here.

Sponsored by:




Accurate Lock & Hardware Ligature Reistant Sliding Door System

Solving a Healthcare Challenge

Currently, many facilities are using swinging doors, or in some cases, a curtain secured with Velcro and no door at all. Swinging doors add ligature opportunities and could possibly be used as a weapon, while Velcro curtains offer no privacy for patient or visitors, and present safety concerns. Accurate Lock and Hardware wanted to create a solution that would eliminate self-harm risks inherent in swinging doors, and address privacy and health-related concerns associated with curtains.

Read more here.


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. 

Community Health Center Facility Evaluation Tool

With support from the Kresge Foundation, The Center for Health Design has developed a standardized Community Health Center Facility Evaluation tool that supports design for population health. The tool is intended to support both design and post-occupancy evaluation of built projects with respect to population health goals. 

Blog: Stepping Up Efforts for High Risk Populations

The value of taking a patient-centered approach to providing healthcare seems obvious. After all, the patient is the one who ultimately reaps the benefits of good health, so shouldn’t he or she also have the chance to take an active role in his treatment process, guiding his own 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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