In 2017, The Center for Health Design launched a new award program to recognize projects and organizations using an evidence-based design (EBD) process in their building design. The Evidence-Based Design Touchstone Award was born out of a desire to both encourage and recognize the use of the eight-step EBD process, from defining the evidence-based goals and objectives to measuring and sharing post-occupancy performance results. Submissions are judged on their exemplary achievement across the three touchstones of the EBD process: collaboration among an interdisciplinary team and stakeholder education, engagement, and development; evaluation and application of found research to link design to outcomes and measurement of results; and sharing of how the EBD process was applied and the knowledge disseminated as well as its potential for application on future projects.

Each year, an expert panel of key industry stakeholders, including academics, architects, designers, healthcare executives, planners, facility executives, patient and family advisers, and researchers, review the submissions. Three levels of the award—Silver, Gold, and Platinum—are considered, reflecting successively greater application and achievement of the EBD process and principles.

At the 2019 Healthcare Design Expo & Conference in New Orleans, four projects were recognized with EBD Touchstone Awards, including three in the Gold category and one in the Silver category.

GOLD: Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin/8 North Tower Medical Surgical Unit Buildout, submitted by HGA. The project involved a combination of EBD, Lean, and change management as well as input from a broad-based interdisciplinary team to reimagine a unit to better support patients and staff. Jurors were impressed with the evaluation of patient and staff outcomes and the research, documentation, and information sharing that they continued to do for years after the project was completed. The floor plan has become the basis for all new units at the hospital.

GOLD: New Parkland Hospital, submitted by NPH Research Coalition. One of the busiest public safety-net hospitals, Parkland serves the full spectrum of patient populations from neonates to the elderly and is also a teaching hospital. The greenfield project, a full-replacement hospital, was designed and built over six years and involved a large, interdisciplinary team whose focus evolved during the last decade from pre-planning to post-occupancy evaluation. Jurors noted that the project is an outstanding model of interdisciplinary collaborative work and applauded the depth and breadth of the team.

GOLD: Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, submitted by HKS Inc. This project completes a children’s pavilion as a comprehensive, integrated facility exclusively for children and the only full-service children’s hospital in central Virginia. Design solutions were developed with full annotation of EBD strategies linked to the initial mission and goals. Jurors commented that the research for relevant evidence and how it was critically evaluated is exemplary. This project is an in-progress research study, and the team has done an admirable job of documenting and communicating their findings for each step of the journey.

SILVER: UK Healthcare Kentucky Children’s Hospital NICU, submitted by HGA. The multidisciplinary team for this project reimagined how a NICU could deliver better patient outcomes. To educate the team about the latest research, a mother-baby consultant, lighting specialists, researchers, and acousticians were added to the team and voice-of-the-customer focus groups were held. The final design included single-family rooms that supported family-centered care with spaces for privacy that allow families to adjust and transition to going home with infants who need additional care. Jurors commented that the post-occupancy research included metrics and analysis and that dissemination of the results was comprehensive.

The Center congratulates all the 2019 Evidence-Based Design Touchstone Award recipients and welcomes them to a short list of exemplary projects achieving this status.

Debra Levin is president and CEO of The Center for Health Design. She can be reached at DLEVIN@HEALTHDESIGN.ORG.