Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are
I was chatting with Debajyoti Pati, a professor in the department of design at Texas Tech University, at an industry event several months ago, when he offhandedly mentioned how recent research seemed to suggest that decentralized nurses’ stations may not be everything they’re cracked up to be. “Do tell,” I said (I may be paraphrasing), and when he described how he and Pamela Redden from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston had come to this conclusion after reviewing six studies on the topic, I knew we needed to share their findings with our readers.
I was reminded of this conversation during my recent interview with Roger S. Ulrich, who is no stranger to the subject of environmental design-related research and the impact it can have on the healthcare field overall. When asked his take on the current state of healthcare design research, he said he’s heard complaints that no new ground is being broken—but he’s not buying it. He offers examples in the feature “Seeds of Change” in our upcoming October 2015 issue.
So what’s causing this disconnect between the public’s perception of new research and Ulrich’s? He has his own theories, among them the fact that many aren’t exactly diving in for a good read. That’s not necessarily for lack of interest; it can be challenging just to get through the study methodologies and decode jargon in an academic paper. (“It can be hard slogging,” Ulrich admits.) Human nature being what it is—does anyone eagerly seek out an opportunity to slog?—the appearance of newly published research might often roll right over everyone’s heads.
We’re eager to cover relevant research in the pages of Healthcare Design, but we don’t pretend to be a peer-reviewed, scientific journal. Our role is not to present original, meticulously notated, academic writing; it’s to distill those published reports (and the ones still in progress that look promising) into straightforward text that relates directly to the work designers are doing. So I’m glad Pati mentioned his studies in passing—and I wish more academics, architects, and researchers would do the same.
We’re always on the lookout, whether it’s for a short findings report in our Monitor department or a more extensive discussion in the Research column. Have you seen, or written, a technical paper on meaningful research for healthcare designers? We’d like to hear about it. You know where to find us.