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Evidence-based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC)

The Center for Health Design’s internationally recognized EDAC program awards credentials to individuals who demonstrate a thorough understanding of how to apply an evidence-based process to the design and development of healthcare settings, including measuring and reporting results. 


Mission: To develop a community of certified industry professionals through education and assessment of an evidence-based design process.


Vision: A world where all healthcare environments are created using an evidence-based design process.


Evidence-Based Design (EBD) is the process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes. Included in this process are the following eight steps:

  • Define evidence-based goals and objectives.
  • Find sources for relevant evidence.
  • Critically interpret relevant evidence.
  • Create and innovate evidence-based design concepts.
  • Develop a hypothesis.
  • Collect baseline performance measures.
  • Monitor implementation of design and construction.
  • Measure post-occupancy performance results.


A large and growing body of evidence attests to the fact that physical environment impacts patient stress, patient and staff safety, staff effectiveness and quality of care provided in hospitals and other healthcare settings. Basing healthcare facility planning and design decisions on this evidence to achieve the best possible patient, staff and operational outcomes is what evidence-based design is all about.



Certification Benefits: 

  • Use of the EDAC appellation to distinguish your knowledge and practice of EBD in healthcare.

  • Listing in a public and searchable directory of EDAC certified individuals.

  • Information and tools to assist in your business development activities and help you get the full business value of your EDAC achievement.
  • Access to professional learning and development opportunities in EBD for healthcare.
  • Access to discussions among peers in the private LinkedIn EDAC Group.


Who Should Be EDAC Certified?

  • Architects & Designers – You have a method for developing design solutions that are rooted in research and likely to achieve a client’s goals.
  • Hospital Executives – You champion innovation that’s good for the triple bottom line.
  • Healthcare Providers – You support new ideas in healthcare design that align with organizational goals and likely to achieve the desired results.
  • Academics/Researchers/Students – You are on top of the most significant, emerging discipline within the healthcare design profession and can help carry the teachings forward.
  • Engineering & Construction Professionals – You understand the importance of research-based design decisions and can maintain the integrity of these decisions during the engineering and construction processes.
  • Product Manufacturers – You use research to inform the product development process and support improved outcomes in healthcare settings.


Visit the Certification page to get started >


History of EBD

1972 Evidence-Based Medicine Starts

Evidence-based design is structured in part along the lines of the evidence-based movement, which began with Professor Archie Cochrane's book "Effectiveness and Efficiency: Random Reflections on Health Services". (1972) (SG1, pg. 28)

1973 EBD Seeds Are Planted

U.S. and U.K. studies examine effects of physical environment on human behavior and organizational culture.

1978 Planetree is Founded

An event that has been critical for the development of evidence-based design (EBD) was the start of the patient-centered care movement which began in the U.S. with the establishment of the nonprofit organization, Planetree.

1984 Evidence Arises

Dr. Roger Ulrich publishes a pioneering study linking views of nature to patient outcomes.

1985 First Planetree Model Hospital

The first Planetree model hospital site opens in San Francisco, CA.  The Planetree model of care is a patient-centered, holistic approach to healthcare, promoting mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and physical healing.

1993 Cochrane Collaboration is Founded

The Cochrane Collaboration, established in 1993, is an international network of people helping healthcare providers, policy makers, patients, their advocates and carers, make well-informed decisions about human health care by preparing, updating and promoting the accessibility of Cochrane Reviews published online.

1993 The Center for Health Design is Founded

The Center for Health Design (CHD) is founded in 1993 to initiate and fund research and to serve as a consortium for knowledge in many different fields that contribute to the creating healing environmentsthat improve outcomes for patients and staff. CHD's mission is to transform healthcare environments for a healthier, safer worl through design research, education, and advocacy.

1996 Evidence is Amassed

CHD publishes the first literature review of EBD research, in which 84 relevant studies that linked the design of the built environment to outcomes were identified.

1999 IOM: "To Err is Human"

Institute of Medicine produces a landmark report on U.S. healthcare quality and safety. To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System, lays out a comprehensive strategy by which government, health care providers, industry, and consumers can reduce preventable medical errors.

2000 Pebble Project Launches

CHD initiates the Pebble Project: a joint research effort between CHD and healthcare providers to cause a ripple effect in the industry by demonstrating how healthcare organizations use EBD to improve outcomes.

2000 Global Recognition Begins

The term "evidence-based design" first appears in print in 2000. Colin Martin of the British medical jounal The Lancet writes, "Although the premise that physical environment affects well-being reflects common sense, evidence-based design is poised to emulate evidence-based medicine as a central tenet for healthcare in the 21st century."

2001 IOM: "The Quality Chasm"

Institute of Medicine publishes The Quality Chasm, its second landmark report on U.S. healthcare quality. It offers a set of performance expectations for the 21st century health care system, a set of 10 new rules to guide patient-clinician relationships, a suggested organizing framework to better align incentives inherent in payment and accountability with improvement in quality, and key steps to promote evidence-based practice and strengthen clinical information systems.

2003 Infection Control Standards are Raised

Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) approves revised standards for the prevention and control of health care-associated infections. The JCAHO 2005 Infection Control Standards address the areas of ambulatory care, behavioral healthcare, home care, hospital laboratory and long-term care organizations. The revised standards are designed to raise awareness that health care associated infections are a national concern that can be acquired within any care, treatment or service setting. Therefore, prevention represents one of the major safety initiatives that a health care organization can undertake.

2004 Evidence Grows to 600+ Studies

The Center for Health Design publishes the "Role Of The Physical Environment In The Hospital Of The 21st Century" by Roger Ulrich, Craig Zimring, Xiaobo Quan, Anjali Joseph, and Ruchi Choudhary, which analyzes and catalogues more than 600 additional studies linking facility design to outcomes.

2005 The Fable Hospital

"The Business Case for Better Buildings" first appears in Frontiers of Health Services Management, Vol. 21, No. 1, Fall 2004, by Roger Ulrich and Craig Zimring. To illustrate the case, the researchers created Fable Hospital, which was a composite of recently built or redesigned healthcare facilities that have implemented facets of evidence-based design in their facilities.

2005 CHD Receives Grant From RWJF

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation endows CHD to define a standardized evidence-based design process and create the EDAC program.

2006 EBD in Industry Guidelines

The 2006 edition of Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities includes suggestions for evidence-based design.

2007 HERD Journal Launches

CHD and Vendome Group launch the Health Environments Research & Design (HERD) Journal, a peer-reviewed journal, further legitimizing the growing field of EBD.

2008 CHD Launches EDAC

The launch of CHD's Evidence-based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC) program is the first attempt to standardize the practice and process of EBD, and qualify an individual's knowledge of that process.

2008 Evidence Grows to 1200+ Studies

CHD publishes "Review Of The Research Literature On Evidence-Based Healthcare Design" by Ulrich, et. al. The complete paper was originally published in the spring 2008 issue of HERD (Health Environments Research and Design Journal), Vol. 1, No. 3.

2008 Evidence-based design is defined

The Center for Health Design defines evidence-based design as the process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes.

2008 EBD 2.0 Collaborative Research Workshop

EBD 2.0 Collaborative Research Workshop

2009 100 EDAC Certified Individuals

After four years of development, grant funds from RWJF, and an educational partnership with Nurture by Steelcase, EDAC reaches its first milestone of certifying 100 industry individuals.

2011 CHD and eCornell Partner to Offer More Student Benefits

CHD’s Evidence-based Design Accreditation & Certification (EDAC) join forces with eCornell’s Healthcare Professional Certification program to announce a new partnership that extends the benefits of their respective programs. In searching for other ways to support professionals in healthcare facility design, CHD finds that eCornell’s curriculum enhances the EDAC learning experience; especially for those looking to gain a deeper understanding of how design is integrated into the overall healthcare operations.

2011 CHD Receives a Star Award from the International Interior Design Association

2012 1,000 Individuals EDAC Certified