The results are in! Each year at the Healthcare Design Expo & Conference, The Center for Health Design conducts a very informal survey to discover the topics that are top of mind for attendees. Prior to the show, The Center’s staff narrows down a potential list of topics to 24 general themes that we’ve been tracking throughout the year. Then, during the event’s four days, we provide each attendee who visits our expo floor booth with three wooden tongue depressors for voting.

Different colors are used to track the results of those who identify as either design professionals, healthcare professionals, or product vendors, allowing us to see if there’s a difference in priorities between the three.

Participants vote by dropping their sticks in buckets labeled by those predetermined topics or by writing a new topic on the stick and placing it into a bucket for additional thoughts and ideas.

At the November 2015 event, we collected votes from about 200 attendees and saw results shift a bit from 2014. For example, in 2014, the top three key issues attendees were concerned with were “the impact of technology on facility design,” “the impact of an aging population on facility design,” and “redesigning the care process. In 2015, the issue that received the highest number of votes overall from both the healthcare and design communities (and was of high interest to the vendor community, as well) was “the impact of design on staff satisfaction and well-being,” a topic that landed in the middle of the pack in 2014. 

Of next highest interest to 2015 attendees were two topics: “the impact of medical technologies on design” and “the impact of design on infection control and prevention” (ranking fourth last year). Rounding out the third place spot in 2015 was the issue of sustainable design, a topic not surveyed in 2014.

Some new issues made their way into the mix as write-in candidates, including several votes concerning behavioral health issues. Attendees asked specifically about behavioral health in acute care settings and in pediatric settings. Not surprisingly, there was still very strong interest in outpatient settings and on research projects specific to those settings. 

Other write-in categories concerned more practical issues, such as how to fix an aging facility infrastructure and understanding how to build the right amount of space for utilization needs. Tying back to the number one topic of interest, one attendee wanted to better understand the impact of constant construction on HCAHPS scores and staff satisfaction/experience. 

It’s interesting to note the bottom two vote-generators of 2014, “staff safety” and “decreasing patient volumes,” had some alignment with those seen this year, “the impact of decreasing patient volumes on design” and “supporting resident/patient-centered medical home models.”

We hope these issues are also the ones that you’re spending time thinking about and would like solutions to. At The Center, we plan to use this information in part to help inform our work in 2016 and beyond. As we develop new toolbox topics and resources found on our website, we’ll look to them to find innovative new case studies, design strategies, lessons learned, and expert insight to add. We welcome your thoughts on these survey topic results as well as other topics that keep you up at night.