Web Exclusive: Is There Evidence to Support Evidence-Based Hospital Design?

June 1, 2010 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the December 2009 issue of ECRI Institute’s Health Technology Trends. For more information, contact us at clientservices@ecri.org.

Evidence-based design (EBD) in healthcare involves using the best available evidence about how the physical environment affects patient-centered care, patient and staff safety, and patient and patient family satisfaction. And if the Center for Health Design (CHD) (Concord, California) didn't define the term, it has arguably cornered the market on EBD implementation. Since about 2000, CHD has been proselytizing to would-be followers about the merits of EBD. Those who espouse the tenets of EBD assert that single-patient rooms with family sleep sofas, noise reduction efforts, large windows that permit natural light, and overall aesthetics reduce stress on patients and staff, promote patient safety by reducing "never" events like healthcare-associated infections and falls, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Some aspects of EBD have already been adopted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). In 2006, AIA updated its guidelines for design and construction of healthcare facilities to include infection control risk assessments and mitigation recommendations and a recommendation on single-patient rooms. These recommendations apply to new construction and are followed...

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