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

September 20, 2018

The Scoop

Change of Scenery

Do you ever find there are times where your "wheels are just spinning" but you're going nowhere? And doesn't it seem that those times when you're unable to get traction or any forward-movement on a project, are also the times you're under tight deadlines?

In many instances, the way to plow through mental roadblocks lies in a change of scenery or tackling a project from a different perspective. If you're really lucky, the change of scenery will involve some time in nature, or a chance to meet new, thought-provoking people. There are also ways to incorporate exercise, meditation and learning experiences outside of your usual expertise that can infuse renewed energy and open up your creative thought process. I think we all have different ways to find the inspiration we need to unwind, refresh and get re-energized.

We'd like to be a resource and a partner you can come to for the inspiration you want, when you need it, with resources available to you 24/7.  From in-person and online events to tools and research advisory services, we can  provide you with timely healthcare industry research advice along with project management support that will help inspire and propel your thinking and healthcare facilities projects.

There are several upcoming opportunities to learn about new design strategies, meet industry experts and get inspired.

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: Engaging Art & Photography in Environments for Aging

Tool: Patient Room Design Checklist and Evaluation Tool

Interview: Using the Design Process to Create Safe and Comfortable Behavioral Health Environments, an interview with Francis Murdock Pitts

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

The Benefits of Co-locating Design and Construction Teams

As demand for faster, more efficient and progressive projects across renovations and new construction accelerates, the request for in-person, cross-team collaboration has followed suit.

Co-location holds the promise of significant savings in time, effort and financial resources, while enhancing the quality of the documents, construction process and finished building.

While simple in concept, the practice of design and construction teams working together from a central operations hub requires thoughtful consideration and coordination beyond that of traditional project delivery.

Though it does not require a specific contractual arrangement, at its heart, co-location entails realignment of practices and priorities from that of individual entities to that of the project.
Health Facilities Management, more. . .



Honored Rehab Facility Gave Translational Medicine a Whole New Approach

The $550 million Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago is a replacement facility for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, a place where adults and children seek care for complex conditions resulting from traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, stroke, amputation, and cancer. But the project didn’t just give the provider a new space; it gave translational medicine a whole new approach.

The building is designed so that clinicians, researchers, and scientists work together, every day, in shared spaces that surround patients. The results are a shortening of the time it might otherwise take to discover new treatment methods and apply them to care delivery. The 1.2 million-square-foot hospital was completed in December 2016 and houses five ability labs dedicated to specific functions (for example, the Legs + Walking Lab) and their associated interdisciplinary teams.

It was early feedback from patients that shaped the branding and operational approach, inspiring a focus on rehabilitation as a process and not an outcome and on what patients can do rather than what they can’t. Because it was critical that the new building support that strategy as well as goals for intense collaboration, the owner began what was dubbed a “living experiment” in 2012, outfitting the existing facility with an ability lab. The prototype was used for five years, ultimately serving as a key validation tool that shaped the vision and design of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.
Healthcare Design, more . . .


Specific Environmental Strategies Needed in Infection Control

Today’s health care facilities need environmental infection control strategies that can address a range of threats, from the most common health care-associated infection (HAI)-causing pathogens like Clostridium difficile to emerging antibiotic-resistant bacteria and viral pathogens. 

In late February 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) published its first-ever priority pathogens list, a catalog of 12 families of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health. 

Environmental services (ES) professionals must take this list as well as other unlisted threats under consideration as they develop a cleaning and disinfection program for their organizations. The WHO list is broken up into three categories. 
Health Facilities Management, more . . . 


Heathcare Facility Floors Getting More Attention in Infection Control Efforts

At any given time, about 1 in 25 inpatients contracts an infection while staying in a hospital, leading to the loss of thousands of lives and cost to the U.S. healthcare system of billions of dollars each year. The devastating financial, medical and emotional consequences of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) have the industry searching for answers.

Make no mistake, most hospitals prioritize cleanliness. They may even exceed infection-control guidelines by doing things like replacing curtains between patients or cleaning the rooms of infected patients more than once a day. Unfortunately, it turns out this is not enough.  
CleanLink, more . . . 


Prioritizing Hospital CEOs’ #1 Priority: Cost Control and the Physical Environment

According to Advisory Board’s Annual Health Care CEO Survey, cost control has surpassed revenue growth as healthcare system CEOs’ number one priority. Hospitals are large enterprises, whether they are part of healthcare system with hundreds of hospitals, or a single hospital with hundreds of beds. Additionally, each hospital can encompass hundreds of employees in both clinical and operational faculties. Even as hospitals and their systems grow larger, 62 percent of surveyed CEOs identify “preparing the enterprise for sustainable cost control” as their top priority.

The executive director for research at Advisory Board noted that health system CEOs “recognize that any effective growth or financial-sustainability strategy must be built on a competitive cost structure in order for their enterprises to deliver high-quality, cost-effective care to the patients they serve.” Hospital leadership recognizes this importance in both the practice of care and the environment of care. But how?
Healthcare Facilities Today, 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. . .




How Does Design Impact Behavioral Health Outcomes

Last Chance to Get Registered

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:





Aging often involves a multitude of changing needs and priorities. However, there are human needs and desires that remain constant throughout the life course. Design strategies for aging must not only address basic physiological and safety needs, but attend to higher-level human needs as well. 

The universal design approach is being adopted by many forward-thinking designers who aim to support equitable, flexible, and accessible environments for all users.

The following strategies have been identified in the current evidence-based design literature as supporting a universal design approach.

Enjoy this free resource here.


We invite you

to a virtual EDAC Exam Prep Study Session: 

It's a busy time of year! Between all the projects and work that's on your to-do list, one thing is certain - you still want to become EDAC certified. That's why we'll bring the EDAC experts to you for a comprehensive two-hour online study session to help prepare you for the EDAC exam.

Join us to learn general information about the exam including the types of questions on the exam, as well as an overview of the five domains included in the exam content outline from which the questions are derived. Speaker presentations will provide a detailed review of content from the three EDAC Study Guides, a summary of key concepts, and sample questions will be reviewed with time for questions.

When: September 28, 2018

Time: 10:00am Pacific

Price: $120

Duration: 120 minutes

Donna Deckard, BSN, MPA, EDAC, Director of Strategic Projects, The Center for Health Design

Julie Kent, EDAC 
Director, Facility Planning & Integration, Trinity Health

Melissa Piatkowski, M.S., EDAC
Research Associate The Center for Health Design


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. 

Incorporating Social Connectivity Into the Built Environment to Accommodate Aging Populations, an interview with Charlotte Yeh, M.D.

This interview with Dr. Charlotte Yeh, Chief Medical Officer for AARP Services, Inc., reviews some of the most important factors to consider when it comes to supporting people as they age, both physically and mentally.


Webinar: Engaging Art & Photography in Environments for Aging

Art and photography can contribute to a positive, engaging experience for residents and their families.  This webinar will amplify the importance of local, meaningful and indigenous artwork that contributes to the quality of life for residents and their care-giving staff.  Using a case study from rural Nebraska, this dialogue will capture the perspectives of the photographer, the architect and the provider as they share the impact that local art is having on residents and their engagement. Learn how this approach can translate to meaningful art programs for other unique populations and communities. Finally learn the importance of art and photography as part of the design process.



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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© 2018 The Center for Health Design






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Concord, CA 94520
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