Covering Design for Health Across the Continuum

The impact of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, continues to garner front-page headlines on a daily basis, and it is the talk of the Healthcare Design conference in Orlando this week.

I am pleased to highlight the extensive healthcare design coverage that Contract has had, notably in our October issue that was entirely focused on design for health. We had an exclusive feature article on The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Healthcare Design, written by Upali Nanda, Ph.D., Eileen Malone, RN, MSN, and Anjali Joseph, Ph.D., who are all affiliated with The Center for Health Design. As the authors point out: “Implementation of the Affordable Care Act provides the design community with a singular opportunity to provide evidence-informed solutions that will help to reshape the healthcare experience. Given the growing need to become analytical and evidence-informed designers, we predict that, in coming years, we will see a broad array of new hypotheses explored. Those projects with successful research findings will emerge as new, validated best practices. Today, we are at the cusp of a wave of change, and many challenges lie ahead for healthcare organizations as they undertake quality improvements.”

In my October editorial Are Beautiful Hospital Interiors a Primary Reason for Rising Healthcare Costs?, I took issue with a recent provocative opinion piece in The New York Times in which the author made the case that the rising cost of healthcare delivery in the United States is in part due to new healthcare architecture and interiors designed to be more akin to high-end hotels. As I wrote: “While the rising cost of healthcare delivery is a significant issue that requires multi-pronged solutions, I believe Rosenthal’s pointed focus on amenities, as well as design and construction capital costs, is misdirected. While competitive hospital and healthcare system marketing is one factor in building newer, more patient-friendly facilities, to say that that is the main reason for the recent increase in quality of healthcare architecture and interiors is cynical and shortsighted. And it is an affront to the work of healthcare architects and designers who thoughtfully utilize evidence-based design.”

At the Healthcare Design Conference on Monday, I was pleased to present the winners of the Healthcare Environment Awards for healthcare interiors (featured in our October issue) and the Nightingale Awards for products for healthcare interiors. CF Stinson won the Best of Competition Nightingale Award for the fabric Funnybone.


From left: Michael Murphy, cofounder of MASS Design Group; Rosalyn Cama, chair of the board of The Center for Health Design; and John Czarnecki, editor in chief of Contract.

At the Healthcare Design Conference on Monday, I was thrilled to see Michael Murphy receive The Center for Health Design’s Changemaker Award. Murphy and Allen Ricks, cofounders of MASS Design Group, were the recipients of Contract’s 2012 Designer of the Year Award. On Monday, Murphy presented the latest work of MASS in Rwanda and Haiti, and had an engaging keynote conversation with Rosalyn Cama, chair of the board of The Center for Health Design, about how healthcare design can be implemented in new and innovative ways to actually be a means of achieving greater human dignity. Bravo to Murphy and his MASS Design Group team!


Michael Murphy, cofounder of MASS Design Group, spoke Monday morning at the Healthcare Design Conference after receiving the Changemaker Award from The Center for Health Design.

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