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

September 6, 2018

The Scoop

Turning the Corner

It's hard to believe we are wrapping up summer and heading into what is a very busy season for those of us here at The Center.

We've been hard at work creating several virtual and in-person opportunities for our community to be able to learn about new design strategies, meet industry experts, get inspired and recharged. 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:

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:

Webinar: Psychology in the Workplace: A Foundation for the Importance of Patient Experience

Tool: Design for Behavioral and Mental Health: A Universal Approach & Benefit Analysis

Interview: Understanding the Unique Design Needs of Behavioral Health Facilities, an interview with James Hunt, AIA, NCARB

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, FASID, EDAC
President and CEO


Industry News Briefs

Senior Facility Partners with Hospital on $100 Million Hybrid Facility

Maplewood Senior Living is teaming up with Norwalk Hospital and its parent organization, the Western Connecticut Health Network, to construct a five-story building in Norwalk, CT, that will contain an assisted living community, medical offices, a health center and a fitness center, the Fairfield Business Journal reports.

The $100 million edifice will be almost 250,000 square feet in size, 72,000 of which will house the assisted living component. The building is scheduled to open in 2021, according to the publication. The property, a few blocks from Norwalk Hospital, is the former location of a YMCA and has been owned by the hospital since 2012.

“Healthcare is moving into a space where you are going to see many interesting partnerships between different kinds of health entities,” stated Norwalk Hospital President and WCHN Chief Strategy Officer Michael Daglio.
McKnight's Senior Living, more . . .


Providers Look to Shift Mental Health Patients from ED to Community-Based Care

Comfortable furniture, soft lighting and a relaxed atmosphere resembling a quiet time at home is probably one of the last images that springs to mind when discussing where to send someone needing emergency treatment during a mental health crisis.

But an initiative being developed by the mental health clinic of Schenectady, N.Y.-based health system Ellis Medicine will try to change traditional perceptions of how mental healthcare is delivered in a clinical setting by making its environment less clinical.

By year-end, the clinic plans to open a new outpatient treatment facility based on a community model that experts say provides individuals experiencing a psychiatric episode with a better environment to receive treatment than a hospital emergency department.

Modern Healthcare, more. . .


Personality, Place, Project and Process Key Components to Creativity in Healthcare Design

Some may wonder if there’s anything new or creative in healthcare design. Are we seeing breakaway solutions in response to the changing medical and technological environment, or are we rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? This question was the inspiration for a research study at the University of Kansas that resulted in some interesting findings about design creativity in this specialty design sector.

First, a definition is in order. Most experts on the topic identify at least two components to creativity in any field: It must be new and innovative, and it must be applicable. To be new but not meet a real need — be it technical, cultural, or aesthetic — isn’t creative.
Healthcare Designmore . . .


A Continuous Assessment: Understanding Compliance During New Construction

Just as healthcare professionals must remain nimble in light of new medical research, healthcare facilities, too, must keep pace with rapid changes in code compliance, neighborhood health, sustainability and energy management. Code compliance is particularly crucial during new construction. If a new facility doesn’t meet compliance on a foundational level, the steps to correct the issue could be detrimental to the timeline and budget of the project – not to mention the safety of the workers.

To mitigate concerns and ensure a smooth project, compliance teams and planning, design, and construction teams should work together throughout the life of a project.
Healthcare Facilities Today, more . . . 


Hospitals Hoping to Erase Their ‘Energy Hog’ Label

Hospitals are notorious for their energy consumption. Between water use, lighting and heating, a typical hospital can use up to five times more energy than a hotel, according to US News & World Report. But in an effort to boost the bottom line, some hospitals are turning to energy efficient products and services.

The first hospital to produce more energy than it consumed was Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wis., which earned the label back in 2014. Former CEO of the facility, Jeff Thompson, said the hospital was saving $1 million to $3 million per year. According to US News & World Report:

Gundersen Health System in Wisconsin employs wind, wood chips, landfill-produced methane gas — and even cow manure — to generate power, reporting more than a 95% drop in its emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter and mercury from 2008 to 2016. Boston Medical Center analyzed its hospital for duplicative and underused space, then downsized while increasing patient capacity. Among other changes, it now has a gas-fired 2-megawatt cogeneration plant that traps and reuses heat, saving money and emissions, while supplying 41% of the hospital’s needs and acting as a backup for essential services if the municipal power grid goes out.
Energy Manager Today, more. . .




How Does Design Impact Behavioral Health Outcomes

There's Still Time to Register for:

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:




Issue Brief: Design for Behavioral and Mental Health: More Than Just Safety

Behavioral and mental health (BMH) conditions affect one in five adults in the United States each year, and are even more common among patients receiving care for medical conditions. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the spectrum of BMH conditions includes anxiety, attention deficit disorders, autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and suicide, among others. Up to 45% of patients admitted to the hospital for a medical condition or presenting to the emergency department with a minor injury also have a concurrent BMH condition. These BMH comorbidities increase the risk of psychological harm associated with care.

Read more here.


We invite you

to attend one of the Evidence-Based Design Touchstone Award Information Sessions: 

Do you have a project that is worthy of an Evidence-Based Design Touchstone Award?  What exactly is the Evidence-Based Design Touchstone Award? What is the criteria for the award?  Who should apply and what is the process like? 

These and other questions will be answered in the upcoming interactive Evidence-Based Design Touchstone Award Information Sessions.  Simply click on one of the sessions listed below to register.


Duration: 45 minutes

Price: FREE

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.

Interactive Design Diagrams

Healthcare is provided in a variety of settings, from a person’s home to outpatient clinics, to the hospital. While the settings and specific design elements may differ across the continuum of care, the objectives of safety, efficiency, satisfaction, and high quality care remain constant. This set of interactive diagrams provides a link between the evidence base, design strategies, and desired outcomes – in a visually intuitive and actionable format.



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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