Are you currently in the process of designing a medical build-out of some kind? Are you wondering how to construct a facility that will ensure that your patients and staff members can achieve the best outcomes? While there are plenty of methods for coming up with the right healthcare and hospital designs, there is one particular technique that trumps them all.

The best-known construction and building trends for healthcare facilities revolve around evidence-based designs. Evidence-based design, or EBD, is a method founded on scientific analysis, credible research, and other methodologies that determine which environmental factors are most likely to contribute to positive outcomes. In recent years, healthcare designers have come to rely on EBD practices more and more.

One of the most famous research studies conducted on evidence-based design was spearheaded by Dr. Robert S. Ulrich between 1972 and 1981. He and his team set out to determine whether or not the presence of a window view of a natural setting might help with patient recovery after major surgeries. The first set of patients were positioned in rooms that had windows overlooking nature of some kind, while the second set of patients were in rooms that had windows with views of brick walls. For the patients that were able to see a natural view from their hospital beds, Ulrich and his team found that these patients needed less pain medication, received fewer negative evaluations on their charts, and had shorter hospital stays overall.

Ulrich’s research on healthcare design is just one of nearly 1,200 studies that have been conducted in recent decades specifically targeting evidence-based design and its benefits. Medical construction is now most often geared towards ensuring that the best environmental practices are incorporated into hospital and clinic layouts, floorplans, and overall workflows.
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Common Evidence-Based Design Definitions

Before we dive into how you can use evidence-based design to your advantage when planning or designing a healthcare facility of some kind, let’s go over some common definitions you may come across while constructing your medical facility with EBD principles in mind:

  • Same-Handed Inpatient Rooms – One of the most common set-ups that hospitals and clinics will use is same-handed inpatient rooms. This is where a hospital streamlines the layout of all of their rooms so that patient beds are all facing the same direction. Environment standardization leads to an established familiarity in the workplace, which constitutes an advantage for staff and patients alike, especially in acute medical settings. Same-handed rooms also make it easier for nurses and other medical staff members to perform their rounds with greater efficiency and accuracy.
  • Performance-Based Building Design – Performance-based building design (PBBD) incorporates many of the same components as EBD practices. PBBD is an approach to architectural design that takes into account measurable data to help meet structural and building safety criteria. PBBD often includes building code requirements and other conditions. You may hear it used in conjunction with evidence-based design practices while pursuing a healthcare design project of some kind.
  • Post-Occupancy Evaluation – This type of evaluation is the last, but most important step in the evidence-based design process. During post-occupancy evaluation (POE), a contractor will verify that the healthcare design meets the goals it set out to achieve. After a business has moved in, a healthcare contractor will evaluate whether or not the new design benefits patients and staff the way it is intended to.
  • EDAC Certified – EDAC stands for Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification. This type of certification is available to architects, healthcare providers, engineers, manufacturers, and other healthcare design professionals. Working with contractors that have obtained this kind of certification can help ensure that the healthcare design you plan on pursuing will be based on the best possible practices.

Advantages of Evidence-Based Designs

Healthcare design is daunting for any business to undertake, but evidence-based design practices can help streamline the process and ensure positive outcomes once your medical build-out is completed. Here are just some of the benefits these practices will guarantee for your medical facility:

    • Save Employees Time
      Healthcare facilities can be hectic. Anything that you can do to eliminate or diminish stress is always preferred. Same-handed rooms, for example, are a great way to ensure efficiency and save your staff time as they move from patient to patient. Better workflows for your staff will inevitably lead to better patient care.
    • Accelerate Recovery Times
      Patient outcomes are greatly benefitted with evidence-based practices. For example, if you ensure that employee charting computers and certain medical supplies are always kept in each room, this can help prevent staff from coming back-and-forth constantly to give necessary care.

Additionally, evidence-based design practices reduce complications since they typically incorporate universal and transitional care elements. Universal patient rooms mean they can accommodate varying levels of care. That way, a patient can stay in the same room throughout the duration of their treatment. Eliminating the need for patient transfers to other floors or rooms as much as possible can help increase patient recovery times and reduce complications.

    • Increase Patient Safety
      Keeping your patients safe can be best accomplished by incorporating EBD practices. Larger patient bathrooms with handrails along the walls and slip-resistant flooring can help prevent falls. Proper lighting will also help ensure that your patients can move around comfortably and adjust the level of light to their needs.

EBD practices also mandate that infection control be considered in all areas of healthcare design and infrastructure. You will want to incorporate antimicrobial fabrics and flooring that can be easily disinfected. Installing hand sanitizer units within reach of patients and staff members is also important to help prevent infection and disease from spreading.

  • Improve Visitor Satisfaction
    EBD practices are helpful not just for improving patient and staff outcomes, but visitor experiences as well. Family and friends are a critical part of the care team for any patient that may be working towards recovery of some kind. By ensuring that waiting areas and patient rooms have enough seating to accommodate family members, you can help increase comfort for patients and their loved ones. Healing gardens, windows with views, and other calming features added to your healthcare design are also sure to increase guest and family satisfaction with your services.
  • Reduce Medical Errors and Other Risks
    Overall, you can guarantee that using EBD practices will reduce medical errors, staff injuries, and other mishaps that may occur in your facility. Any patient that is working through a mental or physical recovery deserves to feel as safe and as comfortable as possible while in your care. By planning your healthcare design with the use of EBD practices, you can eliminate mistakes and accelerate patient recovery.


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Elevate Your Healthcare Design with the Help of Norwest Contractors

There is a lot to consider when building a medical facility of any kind. To help ensure that your healthcare design makes use of EBD practices, allow our team at Norwest Contractors to guide you. Our medical build-outs are beautifully constructed and always incorporate evidence-based design elements that are sure to contribute to both positive patient and staff outcomes. Here are just a couple of examples of some of the healthcare design projects we have worked on that are based on EBD practices:

Hazelden Betty Ford Clinic in Beaverton – One of the most notable clients that we have worked with in the past is the Hazelden Betty Ford Clinic. For their location in Beaverton, Oregon, our team of designers, architects, and contractors came together to design and bring to life their gorgeous 3025 square foot dream facility. Hazelden Betty Ford is a nationally recognized foundation that works with individuals to treat substance abuse and addiction issues. Their clinic provides exceptional resources, counseling, and other services to help guide patients from the beginning stages of acknowledging their addiction issues, all the way through to final recovery.

Women’s Health Care Associates in Hillsboro – Another client we are proud to have served is Women’s Health Care Associates. Their 5400 square foot clinic in Hillsboro, Oregon sees women through all stages of gynecological care, family planning, and pregnancy. For more than 75 years, Women’s Health Care Associates has been ensuring that women’s health is a priority and that women between 13 to 65+ have access to high-quality information, care, and medical support. Entrusting Norwest Contractors to be a part of their healthcare design process was an honor for our team.

Norwest Contractors has helped medical facilities, clinics, and other healthcare providers construct well-built and beautiful locations that rely on EBD principles. With our help, we will walk you through every stage of the design and building processes to ensure that everything goes smoothly from beginning to end. No matter what kind of location you plan to open, such as a chiropractor’s office, women’s clinic, treatment center, or healthcare facility, Norwest Contractors promises to provide the best guidance and assurance for your plans and budget.

Contact Norwest Contractors today at 503-291-6986 to get started! Or fill out our contact form to get in contact with our trusted and dedicated team.