For the last 10+ years I’ve been writing about retail design and how a creative window display, the right materials and lighting, and an inspired layout can guide a shopper through a store, influence how they feel, and ultimately inspire them to buy something. It was a fascinating entrance into the world of design.

Now I’m turning my journalistic eye to healthcare as the new senior editor at Healthcare Design magazine and I couldn’t be happier. For one, many of the design firms I’ve worked with in the past also do work in this field, so there’s the chance to reconnect with old faces. Plus, there are all the new colleagues I get to meet taking about projects, trends, and challenges relating to healthcare design.

This new position also presents the opportunity to dive into this industry as it transitions into a new era, driven in part by regulatory changes, the aging of the boomer population, and the focus on the patient-based experience.

During a recent webinar from The Center for Health Design, “Fable 2.0: The Compelling Business Case for Building Better Buildings,” Blair Sadler, senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, talked about how healthcare organizations are transforming themselves from a single aim of improved care to a triple aim by focusing on improving population health, lowering costs, and improving the care experience. “If you can provide better facilities that reduce the costs of care, you’ll make a big difference,” he said.

Sharing lessons from the Fable Hospital 2.0 project, which was designed to measure the cost benefit of adding key design features to a hospital setting, Sadler recommended new build and renovation projects to consider: single patient rooms where families can stay; reducing patient transfers; access to indoor and outdoor spaces; and the optimization of natural light. For existing facilities, he suggested such measures as conducting noise audits and implementing reduction plans, installing patient ceiling lifts, or adding music as a positive distraction for patients.

Discussing how a one-time incremental capital cost can lead to ongoing operations savings, he touched on the issue of patient falls, which have an average non-litigated cost of $17,500 for a facility. Fable’s unit and room design helped reduce falls by 90 percent, for an annual cost savings of $10 million. The one-time incremental construction cost of $29 million was recovered through lower operation costs within three years, Sadler said. “The new economic reality requires us to explore new areas to improve.”

I look forward to hearing about how your ideas and work are helping shape the future of healthcare design. Drop me a note at so I can introduce myself and learn what’s on your mind as it relates to this fascinating industry of ours.