Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 47

The

Center

FINE-TUNING

Rethinking healthcare facility design in a
post-COVID-19 world will require new tools,
ideas, and solutions By Debra Levin

I

N NOVEMBER 1999, the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM)
published the landmark report "To Err is Human: Building a Safer Healthcare System." The title hearkens back
to the notion that to make a mistake is part of the human
condition. Yet what the book actually shines a light on is
the fact that the systems we have in place, or at times the
lack thereof, were often the precipitating factors that led
to the error, not the people. It did a lot to give insight into
medical errors and created a movement toward patient safety that we
continue to build on to this day.
The work of The Center for Health Design, which started over 30
years ago, is based on the premise that the built environment has an
impact on the outcomes, culture, and financial bottom line of our healthcare systems.
COVID-19 HAS SHOWN US
Though this idea is decades old, it has renewed relevance today in light of the global
OUR WEAKNESSES AND
coronavirus pandemic and our planning for a
HOW FAR WE STILL HAVE
changed, post-COVID -19 world and healthcare system.
TO GO TO PROVIDE SAFE
The stressors COVID -19 placed on our
AND EFFICIENT CARE.
healthcare system exposed its frailties but
highlighted its strengths, as well. For example, some hospitals reported that the thoughtful upfront planning and
designs they invested in to allow for flexibility and surge potential in
the case of a disaster worked exactly as they had been designed-validating once again the role that design plays, especially at critical times
in healthcare delivery.
At The Center, we've been working the last few months to fine-tune
our business model so we can continue to meet our mission in a postCOVID -19 world. We've launched a new "Voices of the Industry"
webinar series as a way to present both innovative solutions that have
worked as well as the problems we have yet to solve. The first three
webinars showcased thought-leaders from both within our industry
and outside of it, all of whom are making a difference through their
work and leading the next generation of design. If you missed this new

series, the webinars are available on The Center's website, under "Open Access" in the Insights and Solutions section.
Another highly attended webinar program
that's available on our site looks at safety
through the lens of materials selection and
cleaning protocols, especially focusing on new
durable coated fabrics and emerging materials like copper and silver that may have innate
properties to reduce the spread of healthcareassociated infections.
One last resource from The Center to explore is the Safety Risk Assessment Tool,
which is designed to encourage a proactive
process to mitigate risk by prompting a multidisciplinary discussion and using an evidencebased design approach in six areas of safety:
infections, falls, medical errors, security, injuries in behavioral health environments, and
patient handling. Like all the resources mentioned in this column, the tool kit is free to all.
As an industry, we've come a long way in
both our knowledge and designs since the
IOM report came out decades ago. Many design features that improve safety in healthcare
environments, such as single-patient rooms
and incorporating hand-washing sinks into
the patient room, have been standardized.
And yet COVID-19 has shown us our weaknesses and how far we still have to go to ensure
all healthcare facilities can provide safe and
efficient care. The added pressure put on our
buildings, staff, and communities exposed the
inefficiencies and inequities in our healthcare
system. The just-in-time supply chain and
minimized workforce that helped bring efficiencies to healthcare couldn't scale up quickly enough during a pandemic. Moving forward,
how can we design more respite areas for overworked staff ? How will we ensure spaces can
quickly scale in acuity when needed?
As a community, we don't hold all of the
pieces to this puzzle, but we do hold the skill
sets needed to be a part of the solution. Sadly,
all too often change comes out of adversity.
I hope that our collective experiences with
COVID -19 will motivate us to find and share
new insights and innovations. 
Debra Levin is president and CEO of The Center for
Health Design. She can be reached at D L E V I N @
H E A LT H D E S I G N . O R G .

SEPTEMBER 2020

47



Healthcare Design - September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Healthcare Design - September 2020

Healthcare Design - September 2020
Show Talk
Photo Tour
Editorial
Connecting Point
First Look
The Hcd 10
Way Finding Signaling a Safe Return
Products Potlight Building Products
The Center
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - Intro
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - Healthcare Design - September 2020
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - Cover2
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 1
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 2
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 3
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 4
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 5
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 6
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 7
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - Show Talk
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 9
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - Photo Tour
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - Editorial
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 12
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 13
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 14
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - Connecting Point
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 16
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 17
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 18
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 19
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - First Look
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 21
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - The Hcd 10
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 23
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 24
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 25
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 26
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 27
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 28
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 29
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 30
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 31
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 32
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 33
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 34
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 35
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 36
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 37
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 38
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - Way Finding Signaling a Safe Return
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 40
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 41
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - Products Potlight Building Products
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 43
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 44
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 45
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 46
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - The Center
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - 48
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - Cover3
Healthcare Design - September 2020 - Cover4
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