When you type in “healthcare design” on Google, you get 134,000,000 results. When you type in “healthcare design education,” 9,270,000 are revealed.

While there is Evidence-based Design Accreditation and Certification, Planetree Visionary Design Network certification, and American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers certification, these fields and certifications are studied, practiced, and achieved after standard interior design degrees are obtained.

With the complexity involved in healthcare design, it seems that we should move to a specialized degree in healthcare design to raise the level of competency and allow those who align their personal missions of working in healthcare design to be able to learn the skills needed to be effective upon graduation.

Generally, today's design programs rarely equip a recent graduate to work in healthcare design. When a designer chooses this field, he or she will spend years getting up to speed and earning certifications. At this point, a critical look needs to be taken at our design programs to allow those who wish to practice in healthcare design to get better training and education so they can more quickly add value to clients.

Without argument, the hospital of the 1930s is not the same as the hospital of 2011. However, with the exception of computerized drafting and Americans with Disabilities Act regulations, design is generally being taught the same way it has always been.

It's time to take the educational system to a higher level.