Name: Lyn Geboy

Award: 20 Making a Difference, 2007

Then: Director of research and education, Kahler Slater (Milwaukee)

Now: Principal, Cygnet Innovations Group (Milwaukee)

What she’s been up to: Wrote Person-Centered Care in Practice: Tools for Transformation for long-term care providers in 2011; founded Cygnet Innovations Group, a consulting and concept development firm that designs place and program innovations for older adults and persons with dementia and disabilities; and conducts training workshops across the country in person-centered care in practice.

What’s one thing about the evolving healthcare design landscape that excites you?

The continued focus on improving the patient and family experience from the perspectives of patient safety, comfort, and aesthetics. The best buildings deliver not only great design, but also demonstrate that design attention has been given to optimizing the patient and family experience. This experience focus in healthcare settings has carried over to long-term care settings as well. For me, it’s the end-user experience that matters most in design.

What’s one of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the design of healthcare spaces since you won your award, and how has it affected what you do?

The effort to connect design decisions with patient outcomes. I read this trend as part of a broader effort to reinforce what we in the design field know already: that the physical setting matters. Healthcare facilities are incredibly and ever more increasingly expensive investments and clients are asking for more sophisticated evidence that their buildings will perform as intended. Architects and interior designers who can effectively demonstrate that they’ve done their research, applied relevant research findings, or even conducted their own research have the advantage.

What’s on your radar screen in 2016?

My business partner Beth Meyer-Arnold and I have a new book coming out that extends our approach to person-centered care from care settings to families who are caring for loved ones with mild cognitive impairment and dementia, including raising their awareness of the effects that the physical setting can have on persons whose cognitive and physical disabilities are diminished. The physical environment can make or break a person’s day if they are cognitively impaired. We want lay persons to be aware of and able to manage the physical environment so that it can be as supportive as possible.

In 2007, you wrote an article on evidence-based design (EBD) and how the practice in healthcare settings had increased steadily over the last several decades. What stands out now?

The shift toward expecting evidence-based design in healthcare settings continues to be positive. For design research academics, “research utilization” has long been a conundrum—how do you get designers to apply the knowledge gleaned from research to their designs so that they can create more supportive environments for people? EBD really put research utilization on the map. I’m very proud of that fact. Designers have learned that research knowledge is not something that interferes with creativity, but rather is information that facilitates better design and increases their confidence in their design solutions. That’s progress.

For more Q+As with past recipients of Healthcare Design’s professional awards programs, check out "Master Class."