What's the difference?

July 31, 2009
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Healthcare interior designers have always been a special bunch. Face it: anyone inspired by bleach-cleanable, antifungal, flame-retardant, antimicrobial, low-VOC building products has to be a bit different, and they are. In the year 2003, five visionary healthcare architects and interior designers decided that recognition of this “difference” mattered to the industry, to the hospitals and clients who commission interior designers, and to the advancement of this unique specialty.

AAHID, The American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers, was officially formed in June of 2005. It is modeled after ACHA (the American College of Healthcare Architects), mentored by NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification), and supported by generous contributions from industry partners. Dan Lee AAHID, AIA, ASID, IIDA, the first president of AAHID describes the creation of this organization as one of necessity: “The convergence of healthcare markets, challenges, and trends makes it more important than ever that every professional involved with a healthcare facility bring a depth of experience and qualifications to his or her area of expertise. This is especially true in healthcare interior design, increasingly recognized as a distinct, certifiable field.”
Hughston Orthopedic Hospital: The designer's solution to upgrading this 1980s 100,000-square-foot specialty Orthopedic Medical Center was a comprehensive approach that could be implemented over time as a hospital-wide Master Standards Program for custom-designed architectural details, finishes, furnishings, lighting, artwork, and signage. This program allowed the implementation of new products as space and funds became available. New product selection gave thoughtful consideration to the safety of the many mobility-challenged visitors and orthopedic patients using the hospital

Hughston Orthopedic Hospital: The designer's solution to upgrading this 1980s 100,000-square-foot specialty Orthopedic Medical Center was a comprehensive approach that could be implemented over time as a hospital-wide Master Standards Program for custom-designed architectural details, finishes, furnishings, lighting, artwork, and signage. This program allowed the implementation of new products as space and funds became available. New product selection gave thoughtful consideration to the safety of the many mobility-challenged visitors and orthopedic patients using the hospital

Today, with 91 board-certified interior designers, AAHID is recognized as the advanced certification for healthcare interior design. Additionally, 28% of these specialists hold ASID accreditation. These credentialed professionals are distinct from other specialties in their experience and expertise in healthcare interior design. The board-certified healthcare designer is held to the highest possible standard for safety, infection control, patient welfare, codes compliance, and thoroughly researched design solutions.

On a personal note, what draws me to this accomplished group and their alliance with The Center for Health Design and evidence-based design was that they don't assume to know everything about healthcare design. Instead they continually challenge their best work with the question: Can we measure and prove what we think we know to be true? The process then becomes one in which a design approach is research supported and the information shared.
Spartanburg Regional-Gibbs Cancer Center: LeVino Jones Medical Interiors, Inc., and F.A. Hunter provided full-scope interior design services for this freestanding Cancer Treatment Hospital in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Architectural detailing, finishes, furnishings, lighting, artwork, and signage designs were implemented in this unusual center. The oncology medical office building, education/conference center, treatment facility, and oncology retail center, were integrated into one facility for patient's “one-stop shopping” ease of receiving care

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