When The Center for Health Design and Medquest Communications agreed to collaborate in producing a publication that would showcase healthcare design, we both knew we were doing something new. An all-embracing publication, displaying not just healthcare design competition “winners” but all entrants who met a certain level of excellence, had not been done before in this market. The two partners approached this innovation, to be called Healthcare DESIGN, with considerable excitement.

I should add that, while this might be a new concept in the healthcare design arena, Medquest has published a similar publication for long-term care designers each year since 1997. The healthcare design environment has its own challenges, though, and we were eager to see how the judges nominated by The Center for Health Design would apply the judging criteria (see box) during their daylong discussions of the entries.

As it turned out, the judges were demanding. If the truth be told, all 43 entrants who “made the cut” for Healthcare DESIGN should consider it an achievement; the initial rejection rate approached 40%. This might have been as much a result of presentation difficulties as of any perceived design shortcomings in the projects themselves. Often the judges didn't see the photographic documentation they needed to confirm the concepts discussed in the texts. A photo or two might have seemed inappropriate as well-for example, too “scary looking” for a children's center. It was clear that design firms submitting entries needed to pay close attention to their photography.

The judging panel for Healthcare DESIGN was broad, representing architecture, interior design, regulation and accreditation. This was intentional, because in terms of the material it seeks, Healthcare DESIGN goes beyond many design competitions. For example, the judges looked for evidence of innovative planning and collaboration with nondesign professionals, such as government regulators. As experienced designers know, this is often where the battles over innovative design are won or lost. Evidence was sought, too, of responsiveness to environmental issues, both external and internal. Judges were also looking for designs acknowledging that it is, after all, human beings who will be served in the high-tech settings of healthcare.

Naturally, sheer comfort and physical attractiveness were also attributes fastened upon by the judges-especially the interior designers. There was considerable discussion, for instance, of the imaginative (or not) use of color in many of these facilities. (A hint: Variations of beige, brown or yellow produced yawns.)

The goal of Healthcare DESIGN was to advance The Center for Health Design's agenda of improving healthcare design to meet the needs of 21st-century patients, providers and staff. The entries, the citations and the special articles included here both support and explain that agenda. In view of this year's results, it will be interesting to see what designers come up with next year.

The Judges

Nominated by The Center for Health Design

John E. Fishbeckis an associate director for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) in the Department of Standards.

Inaddition, he participates in the development, teaching and evaluation of Environment of Care education programs and products for JCAHO surveyors and members of accredited organizations.

Before joining the Joint Commission, Mr. Fishbeck was director of an architectural department at a nationally respected architectural/ engineering firm specializing in healthcare design. During his 18 years in the private sector, he worked closely with healthcare clients-from strategic planning/programming through design, contract document, project scheduling and construction.

Mr. Fishbeck is a registered architect in the state of Illinois and received his degree in Architecture at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Beth Kuzbek, a specialist in healthcare design, is director of Design for InPro Corporation. She is a licensed Interior Designer in the state of Wisconsin and a chairholder for Color Marketing Group.

Ms. Kuzbek's 17 years of experience in the field of healthcare design and extensive work with Color Marketing Group have enabled her to select and design with appropriate colors for healthcare interiors and products. She is a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and International Interior Design Association (I I DA), where she served as the National Healthcare Forum Director from 1999 to 2001.

Ms. Kuzbek is affiliated with several organizations, including the Society for the Advancement of Gerontological Environments, the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Association and the Wisconsin Nursing Home Association.

Alan Mack is a partner in Proteus Group, LLC, an architectural planning, interior design and engineering firm, and is the principal in charge of interior design.

Mr. Mack is a former trustee and chair for the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research, which accredits interior design programs in North America, and has made presentations to other design forums, including the Symposium on Healthcare Interior Design. He has dedicated himself to the healthcare design industry and has been instrumental in changing the aesthetic image of healthcare today. He has a BS in Interior Design from Case Western Reserve University, is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a current board member of the Illinois chapter.

Eva L. Maddox is the founder and creative strategist of Eva Maddox Associates, Inc. She created Eva Maddox Branded Environments, a research-based approach that identifies and integrates a client's DNA into tangible experiences. International publications and design awards have recognized her work for clients, including the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati and Swedish Covenant Hospital. She is also cofounder of Archeworks, an alternative design school in Chicago.

Jens Mammen specializes in the master planning, planning and design of healthcare facilities. His experience ranges throughout North America and Europe, and includes large academic medical center replacement facilities, community hospitals and clinical research facilities. He provides the project leadership efforts of HOK Health Care in Chicago.

Ethel B. Nemetz received her BFA in Interior Design with honors from Northern Illinois University and is currently serving as ASID Illinois Chapter President. As principal of EN Design Associates, Inc., with offices in Chicago and Crystal Lake, Illinois, Ms. Nemetz has professional experience that spans more than 18 years.

In addition, Ms. Nemetz has been instrumental in designing hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the country, including the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC, and has been consulting on the process of creating Healing Environments. She is an advocate for change in the design of healthcare facilities.

Dewey Schultz is an architect with extensive senior leadership experience in the development of built interiors. He honed those skillsfirst as a 25-year partner and shareholder in an international architecture firm and second as an executive leading the real estate, design, construction and faci lity services of a major academic medical center.

In the architectural practice, Mr. Schultz was directly involved in all elements of the firm and programmed, master planned and designed more than 25 facilities for Universities, Academic Medical Centers and the healthcare industry. He has lectured internationally over the past two decades.