This year's AIA National Convention in sweltering Miami marked my first attendance at the show. While our focus at HEALTHCARE DESIGN is obviously healthcare, shows like AIA help provide a broad picture of the state of architecture, and healthcare's place in it. This has provided some interesting perspectives for me, and has shown me (as if I ever forgot) yet again what a special and specialized field healthcare architecture indeed is.

There were several heatlhcare-specific sessions here at the conference, but I gleaned the most intriguing information from a non-healthcare session called Design Informed: Transforming Evidence Into Practice, wherein Gordon H. Chong, FAIA, FACHA, NCARB; Bob Brandt, AIA, IFMA, LEED AP; and W. Mike Martin, FAIA, examined the concept of evidence-based design (EBD).

While readers of HEALTHCARE DESIGN are no doubt well-versed in this concept as it relates to healthcare, Chong and Co. were really introducing the concept as a general tool, one that they felt could transform the design process. Most interesting, perhaps, was the idea that this is all a fairly long time away from actually happening. The audience, featuring only a handful of healthcare architects, seemed receptive and interested, but coming from our little corner of the industry, where EBD is not only known but is widely integrated already, their reactions were eye-opening to say the least.

Contrast this with a session later in the day, An Understanding of Healthcare Planning Process for the Next Decade: How Demographics Will Shape How We Deliver Healthcare, by Steven I. Steinberg, AIA, and Terrie Kurrasch, Assoc. AIA, of Ratcliff. Lots of information was presented, almost a crash-course in the state of healthcare design, meant to be delivered to the generalist architect. The problem: most of the audience were in fact healthcare architects. Still, there were some very interesting kernels of thought peppered in with the general information, some of which I hope to pursue in print in the coming months. HD

Todd Hutlock, Editor-in-Chief Healthcare Design 2010 July;10(7):6