ASID: Evidence-based design beyond healthcare
Evidence-based design (EBD) has really started to take form. As an emerging designer, the thought processes and approaches of EBD will inform my career. While we are seeing the effect in healthcare design, I am curious about the broader impact EBD may have on design as a whole.
As designers, we recognize that our decisions impact client livelihood and user comfort. In healthcare, design decisions affect the quality of care, staff performance/retention, and patient recovery. Thanks to research and results, the impact of design decisions is being quantified and disseminated. Research empowers designers with knowledge to justify costs for single patient rooms, more durable finishes that protect against infection, and sustainable practices. All of these design decisions speak to administrative priorities. For example, a patient fall costs a hospital $10,000 on average, without a lawsuit. A hospital-acquired infection costs $4,000 on average per patient. Hospital administrators naturally relate to design solutions that are safer and healthier for patients, family, and staff.
But what about the bigger picture? What about the potential for EBD for markets other than healthcare? The sustainability movement, specifically LEED, utilizes research to inform environmental design decisions that not only have an effect on the natural environment but the users of the space. For instance, daylight within a workspace affects staff productivity, which also affects a company's bottom line. For retail environments, research-supported design approaches could result in higher sales for stores.
The information is out there, but it needs to be gathered, evaluated, and utilized.