The Next 5 Years Of Healthcare Design

December 10, 2013

As 2014 approaches, The Center for Health Design (CHD) is preparing to move into the last year of our five-year strategic plan and start laying groundwork for the next.

Over the last few months, we’ve been engaging in conversations with industry experts, colleagues, healthcare futurists, trusted advisers, and members of various CHD programs, among others, to try and understand what the industry might need from us five years from now. The knowledge gathered through this process will help us to create unique, new, and innovative business opportunities for the healthcare design profession.

Anyone who has ever been involved in creating a mid- or long-term strategic plan can relate to the excitement of the blank canvas, which is immediately followed by the realization that there’s no crystal ball to see the future clearly enough to be 100 percent certain that you’ll be in the right place at the right time with the right products or information.

We’ve made significant progress with our current strategic plan, especially in light of the economic changes and turbulent climate for healthcare since the plan was created. The lens we looked through in 2008 was very different from the one we use today.

The building boom was just starting to slow down, the economy was just starting its free fall, and the Affordable Care Act hadn’t yet been signed into law. Much of the conversation around healthcare was geared toward innovative ways to manage volume rather than the current emphasis on value.

We’ve made significant progress in achieving our current strategic goals, which are to:

1. Leverage research to improve outcomes in healthcare environments—We’ve added to the body of research around evidence-based design with numerous white papers, research reports, and case studies.

2. Translate knowledge into tools and resources—We’ve launched numerous new tools, including checklists and specialized micro-websites (such as Clinic Design at, and made research more accessible and searchable with the launch last year of the Knowledge Repository. All of these resources were designed specifically to support the design and healthcare communities in their work and are available free of charge on The Center’s website (              

3. Foster innovation in the design of healthcare settings—Multiple Pebble members opened new hospitals, including Palomar Medical Center, Lurie Children’s Hospital, and Nemours Children’s Hospital, have all opened in the last 24 months, and the WellStar Paulding Hospital is planning to open in the spring.

4. Engage, lead, and serve our community— All of these things have been achieved through the efforts and energy of scores of volunteers and partnerships with numerous other associations, organizations, and foundations.

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Geriatric centered spaces

What I'll have to call a prevailing un-theme in all I read about hospital design is input from patients!

Right this minute, what seems most devoid of patient experience is Geriatric Centered Spaces.

Nothing does half as much for my health as association with people of all ages - and not being in the age box is what I missed most about leaving southern CA.

Infirmity, falling, and mobile limitations are not restricted to any age group. The two severely limited men who inspired my universal access DesignCad projects? One was in high school.

There is still FAR too much stigma attached to words like geriatric for anyone to love having it hooked to her name. And I read that daily from doctors themselves.

What we need is complete attention to our unique situation, not our DOB.