The Future of Research in Healthcare Design

Posted by on Oct 21, 2022 in Behind the Design
The Future of Research in Healthcare Design

Healthcare design has many interchangeable parts to make it successful. More recently it is coming to light that research is the future of healthcare design. Ray Pentecost, director of the Center for Health Systems and Design was given the changemaker award. This award is given to honor an individual or organization that has demonstrated the ability to change the way healthcare facilities are designed and built. To read the full article click here.

The Role of Research in Design

Formally trained in architecture, public health, and nursing, working at Texas A&M, Pentecost has used his diverse background to become an advocate and practitioner of healthcare facility evidence-based design throughout his career. (Source)

“There’s a lot of disciplines coming together and blending somehow into a career direction,” Pentecost said.

Beyond the university setting, Pentecost has also helped guide the worldwide architecture community toward more research to impact global health. For example, as the director of the International Union of Architects (UIA) – Public Health Group based in Paris. Pentecost co-authored a declaration for the UIA, approved by 104 member nations, to make “2022: The UIA Year of Design for Health.” (Source)

He added that he wants to change the way architects see their role to that of “health professionals” and evolve the current curriculum.“If we don’t find a way to incorporate and prioritize research in the curriculum, we’re going to graduate brand new graduates who are not relevant and that would be a tragedy.” (Source)

“Everyone knows healthcare is a team sport,” he said. “And I have been surrounded by team members who really understand what mattered and were a huge influence on me. The people surrounding me over the course of my career have changed me.” (Source)

Evidence-Based Research

Evidence-Based Research has led the way to Evidence-Based Design (EBD). It is the process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes. Basically, it’s taking research that proves certain elements of design will affect the ultimate outcome or experience of those in the environment and incorporating them into the design. Using Evidence-Based Design will improve the outcome of the design.

The Results of EBD

When EBD principles are applied in the design process, one can expect an improvement in patient and staff well-being, patient healing, stress reduction, and safety. An evidence-based design should also result in improvements to the hospital’s outcomes, economic performance, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

Healthcare Design Examples

  • Private Patient Rooms
  • Decentralized Nursing Stations
  • Lavender Rooms
  • Access to Natural Light
  • Artwork
  • Ceiling Lifts
  • Multipurpose Rooms

The Challenges of EBD

Translating research into practice doesn’t come without challenges. As a healthcare designer who is certified with an EBD credential (EDAC), it is my mission to develop a physical environment that helps to reduce patient stress, improve patient and staff safety, and help staff be more effective at their job. Using the EBD techniques will result in improvements to the hospital’s outcomes, economic performance, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

How to Overcome the Challenges of EBD

There are toolkits and checklists that interior designers can use to evaluate each healthcare facility, its needs, and its budget. For the project to be successful, you need to effectively promote the idea to the administrators and all the stakeholders involved with the decisions. Some ways that can help you overcome these challenges are case studies, crunching the numbers, and highlighting unexpected markets.

If you liked this blog check out Evidence Based Design Moves Into the Dental Field, Evidence-Based Design in Healthcare, and Healthcare Designers, Hilliard Architects, and Wikoff Design Studio, Improve Operational Efficiency.

Marie Wikoff is the creator of Wikoff Design Studio based out of Reno, Nevada. Her expertise in healthcare design has helped modernize healthcare organizations locally, regionally, and internationally, improving patient experience and outcomes. Her credentials include Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC), American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designer (CHID), the National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) and LEED AP. Contact Marie Wikoff

Source: Walker, Tracey. “2022 HCD Conference: Changemaker Discusses His Passion for Research, Its Role in Industry’s Future – HCD Magazine.” HCD Magazine – Architecture & Interior Design Trends for Healthcare Facilities, 15 Oct. 2022,

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