How is Evidence-Based Design Different from Research-Based Design?

April 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm 2 comments

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LifeScape Medical Associates - Scottsdale, Arizona

That’s a good question.  Research-based design―research about the environment―has been around for a very long time and I think thoughtful architects and designers have for many years employed research in an informal way when they’re designing spaces.  I would say the best architects and designers have very good intuition as well that feeds into that.  But just using research does not mandate in and of itself that you’re going to embark upon a formal process.

When we’re talking about evidence-based design, there is a formal process that one has to follow and this is outlined in the book.  You start with the hypothesis, here’s what I think will be true if we design the nursing unit this way, and then, if you’re an architectural firm, one of the best things to do is find a consultant who is perhaps associated with an academic institution, a researcher, to work with you to develop this.  I am vastly simplifying the process in this description but it starts with a literature review and figuring out with hospital leadership the best issues to study—those with the greatest leverage—then creating hypotheses and eventually developing the metrics by which you’re going to measure this at six months and 12 months after occupancy.  You look at the data and what it tells you, maybe everything wasn’t successful, but some aspect of it was successful.  Now you publish the outcomes—what worked and what didn’t work—and then the next hospital, or next 20 or 40 hospitals, doesn’t make that same mistake.  They can look at what you did and say, “that was really effective for this sub-group of patients, which was great.”

And over time, I’m sure it will take at least 10 years to have a large enough database built-up, one learns from another and another—as the knowledge base grows.  One sees greater rigor coming from Medicare; you see it in clinical care the past few years, the work that IHI, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, has embarked upon.  That’s where we’re going and design has to follow, it has to be as rigorous.

(Excerpts from an interview with Hospital Interior Design expert, Jain Malkin regarding her book, A Visual Reference for Evidence-Based Design, published by The Center for Health Design, 2008; View the video – Evidence-Based Design – How evidence-based design is different from research-based design)


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Architecture Linked  |  April 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Good post. I would love to see design follow IHI. In so many ways it should.

    Reply
  • 2. webleslee  |  April 26, 2012 at 12:42 am

    thanks for your post

    Reply

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