The concept of evidence-based design (EBD) has been around for decades. Roger Ulrich’s 1984 landmark study “View through a Window” was a catalyst that ignited interest in evidence-based design and the belief that design interventions can foster better outcomes and changes in human behaviors and business performance.
It wasn’t until 2000 that the term was coined and started becoming part of the healthcare design vernacular. To define EBD and document a process and common language, The Center for Health Design (CHD) began creating the Evidence-based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC) program in 2006, by gathering a group of volunteers at the HEALTHCARE DESIGN Conference to explore the idea.
We had little idea of the process that lay ahead of us. In the room that day were more than 100 healthcare and design professionals eager to contribute their ideas and experiences toward the creation of a program that would transform the way healthcare environments are designed and evaluated.
It took three years and a concentrated group of content experts from clinical, design, and research backgrounds to collect and assemble the base knowledge, develop the exam content, and prepare the study guide materials.
In the past three years, the exam has been administered to architects, interior designers, physicians, nurses, healthcare executives, product manufacturers, and other individuals in the United States, Canada, and seven other countries. At press time, more than 1,095 individuals have been EDAC certified.
The growth of the EDAC community is helping us make progress toward realizing our vision that all healthcare environments are designed using an evidence-based design process. And more progress is needed.
CHD and its volunteer experts have continued to update and enhance the EDAC program with the development of new resources and tools to assist certified individuals with the integration of evidence-based design into their day-to-day work. Over the past year, we have been working on developing a new examination form, which was released in April.
Why change the EDAC exam?
According to the world of psychometrics, the EDAC exam may have reached a level of overexposure. It is not uncommon for the basic concepts and knowledge content of an exam to be shared between colleagues and friends, when it has been in existence for several years.
As more exam candidates know what to expect on the exam, the outcome results can become skewed and the exam may begin to see a decline in discrimination. Both overexposure and discrimination concerns—in addition to changes in content, procedures, and other information—influence the need for periodic updating of the certification exam form.
In psychometrics, an exam with a high degree of discrimination accurately identifies individuals who possess the knowledge to pass the exam and receive the credential. As exam content is shared, candidates may prepare solely for the exam content and may not actually possess the base knowledge desired for certification.
The EDAC certification signifies to clients, employers, and peers that an individual has a base knowledge about the evidence-based design process. To maintain the quality of the program, it was time to retire the original exam form and launch a new test form that would continue to certify qualified professionals.
Updating the EDAC exam
Although the EDAC exam has been updated, the foundational elements of the program remain the same, including the exam content outline, the evidence-based design definition and process, and the use of the study guides as preparatory materials.
Exam content outline
The exam content outline, provided to all exam applicants, includes five content domains and is used to assess each candidate’s knowledge about the evidence-base design process.