A growing body of literature describes the link between a hospital's physical design and its key quality and safety outcomes. Evidence-based design elements can help hospitals reduce costly and avoidable incidents of patient harm such as patient falls, hospital-acquired infections, and medication errors.

For decades evidence-based hospital design has proven to increase patient and staff satisfaction and safety, quality of care, and employee retention. So why reinvent the wheel? Especially in relation to managing and implementing design improvements to improve patient safety.

It is crucial that whatever new solutions are put into place go beyond short-term, quick fixes to deliver consistent and sustainable gains in patient safety. Safety-driven design principles and design process recommendations help with validating and capturing these gains.

One facet of patient safety-centered design is the use of mock-ups or “trystorming.” Trystorming extends brainstorming by quickly creating mock-ups that can be rapidly and thoroughly evaluated. Room and/or work area mock-ups help staff identify possible failure modes and think through creative new solutions.

Cost is usually the first question to arise when considering mock-ups or trystorming. Justifying expenditures in these current economic times is expected, but when do reducing costs outweigh the benefits of improvements brought about by mock-ups?