Our goal as healthcare designers is to create facilities that improve patient care quality and safety, increase patient and family satisfaction, and enhance the bottom line. Evidence-Based Design (EBD), a practice that links research and design to result in buildings that achieve the objectives of both designers and medical practitioners, has become an accepted strategy among design leaders to help ensure that a healthcare project is ultimately successful in enhancing the quality of care it provides.
The project design team must understand the practical application of EBD concepts in order to ensure client buy-in and effectively implement the EBD process. The Evidence-Based Design Accreditation Certification (EDAC) exam is the first step in moving individuals toward designing facilities that are based on credible evidence.
Initially, preparing for the EDAC can seem intimidating but there are many useful resources provided by the Center for Health Design (CHD) that will help you gain a thorough understanding of EBD such as the Candidate Handbook, which includes information on scheduling the exam and what to do the day of, as well as a detailed content outline. Do not let the content outline overwhelm you. Use it as a tool along with the EDAC study guides and practice exam at www.healthdesign.org to help maximize your retention.
Pay special attention to repetitive concepts and information in the guides and take time to complete the review at the end of each chapter, as this will help target material you may need to review before moving ahead.
A guide to study guides
Below you will find a description of each volume of the study guide and some specific concepts that you should be mindful of as you begin.
Volume 1 explores the healthcare delivery system, the trends affecting how healthcare is delivered, and how to build a business case for the implementation of EBD. You will learn how Evidence-Based Design has been shaped and defined, and also be introduced to important components of EBD including: The Environment of Care; The Evidence-Based Design Process; The Care Experience; Stakeholders: Who they are & what roles they play; Benefits of Interdisciplinary Project Teams; and Using Research to Inform Design.
In Volume 2 you will look closely at the process for finding and qualifying existing evidence as well as creating new evidence where existing research is insufficient. Pay attention to the following concepts: Research Methodology; Types of Research Design; Basic vs. Applied Research; Components of Research; The Research Plan; and Reliability vs. Validity.
Volume 3 discusses the importance of implementing EBD as early as possible in the design process. You also will gain an understanding of how EBD fits into each phase of design and how an integrated project team with a shared goal and sense of ownership will be more likely to develop innovative concepts and design solutions. Watch for information pertaining to the following elements of EBD: The Interdisciplinary Project Team; The Visioning Process; EBD at each Phase of the Design Process; Commissioning; and Evaluating & Publishing Post-Occupancy Results.
The volumes also present a number of relevant case studies that can help with practical application of EBD principles.
The case for certification
Though the EDAC exam is currently geared toward healthcare design, its focus may eventually be widened to include other building typologies. “Traditionally associated with healthcare architecture, EBD is making inroads into being part of the process for designing schools, office spaces, hotels, restaurants, museums, prisons, and even residences,” says David Whitemyer, AIA, director of production and project manager at Christopher Chadbourne and Associates (CCA) in Boston.
Whether you are a seasoned healthcare designer planning a large-scale international hospital campus, a junior designer working on an elementary school, or a design student merely interested in the process of EBD, obtaining certification will continue to grow in importance. EDAC post-nominal initials—like LEED® AP, IIDA, and other accreditations—will give both your clients and your peers confidence in your knowledge base as a designer. According to Whitemyer in The Future of Evidence-Based Design, “As construction costs rise, codes increase, and human-centered considerations flourish, clients will demand accountability and data-proven justification for most design decisions. Interior designers, in their effort to remain both competitive and innovative, will seek strategies that allow their expertise to shine.”
* Source credit: Whitemyer, David. “The Future of Evidence-Based Design.” Perspective (Spring 2010): 8-12. 14 July 2011.
Rachel Payleitner, LEED AP, EDAC, (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an accomplished interior designer at Perkins+Will in Chicago with a background in a variety of market sectors, most recently focusing on healthcare. She has been involved in large healthcare projects including the Rush University Medical Center New Hospital Building in Chicago and Princess Noura Bint Abdulrahman University Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Jennifer Merchant, NCIDQ Certificate No. 24249, LEED AP ID+C, EDAC, (email@example.com) is an associate at Perkins+Will in Chicago with a primary focus in healthcare design. She has been involved in several large local and international Hospital projects including the Rush University Medical Center New Hospital Building, Chicago; Rush University Medical Center Atrium Renovation, Chicago; and Princess Noura Bint Abdulrahman University Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Hannah Jefferies, MFA, NCIDQ Certificate No. 24248, LEED® AP ID+C, EDAC, (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a registered interior designer at Perkins+Will in Chicago. Hannah focuses primarily in healthcare and education design, and has been involved in several large hospital projects including the Rush University Medical Center New Hospital Building, Chicago; Rush University Medical Center Atrium Renovation, Chicago; and Markham-Stouffville Hospital, Markham, Ontario.
Christine Kenline, NCIDQ No. 27070, LEED AP ID+C, EDAC, (email@example.com) is a licensed interior designer at Perkins + Will in Chicago. Christine has worked on both national and international projects in various sectors of design including the Bank of America Corporate Headquarters, Princess Nora University, Dubai International Airport, Rush University Medical Hospital, MMC, and KPMG.
Past installments of "Designing for Health" include (click on title to access the full article):