Ninety-five percent of respondents to the 2017 Hospital Construction Survey say that staff (clinical and nonclinical) are involved in the design of new facilities. Of that percentage, more than half say they involve staff in testing mock-up designs, an often-used evidence-based design (EBD) strategy. 

Evidence-based design is a simple concept to understand, but can be a little tricky in actual practice. Mock-ups are just one tool within the EBD toolbox, and it's important to know which tools will help to create the desired outcome for a given project. 

Philip LiBassi, FAIA, FACHA, senior principal at DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky, has experience in using evidence-based design for health care projects. In his article "How to employ evidence-based design strategies," he writes that "to achieve the best outcome, the design team and health care organization should come to a consensus as to how to leverage EBD into the requirements of the program, schedule and budget."

That team, LiBassi says, should include a number of stakeholders from the design team and from across the health care organization — ranging from executive to front-ine staff. In the article, LiBassi walks through six steps of an EBD strategy a hospital used to help inform the design decisions of a hospital's patient room unit. The hospital's strategy began with reviewing scientific literature and concluded with post-occupancy evaluations. 

Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich., which received the American College of Healthcare Architects' 2017 Legacy Project Award, used EBD to build its current campus in 2000. Despite being 17 years old, the hospital’s use of EBD has ensured its relevancy to this day.

The new Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, which is on track to open in December, will include design features that have been proven to be effective through EBD studies. Some of the features that will go into the 844,000-square-foot children’s hospital include plentiful views of nature, access to the outdoors, abundant natural light and a focus on sustainability.

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