Using research to inform design decisions is a keystone of the evidence-based design process and something The Center for Health Design has championed for decades. One of the tools we’ve developed over the years to make that process a bit easier is the Knowledge Repository (KR). This resource reached a milestone this year with nearly 5,000 searchable research journal citations from an array of peer-
reviewed journals on a diverse collection of subject matters.

Knowing that access to a wide variety of scholarly journals isn’t available to all, our team of research associates has read more than 800 of the available research journal citations and distilled the information into key point summaries (KPS). With support from the American Institute of Architects Academy of Architecture for Health (AIA AAH), Facility Guidelines Institute, American Society for Health Care Engineering, and the AIA Design for Aging knowledge community, each year our team and volunteers from the Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design add to both the body of journal citations as well as the number of KPS—with nearly 400 citations and 125 KPS added this year alone.

In addition to this content, we created how-to videos, including “About the Knowledge Repository,” “Understanding a Key Point Summary,” and “How to Do a Search,” to help users get the most out of our online tools. These short tutorials walk users through the various aspects of the KR to help you quickly find what you need.

The Center’s KR also archives the “Research Matters” blogs published in Healthcare Design magazine. These articles provide quick and easy access to key studies published since 2016, on topics ranging from patient room design to falls to flooring and infection control. Each posting has a graphic illustration created specifically for that topic and a breakdown of the research, why it matters, what we learned that we can translate into design decisions, and details on the key takeaways.

This year The Center also launched a user survey to better understand how our community is using the KR and to help us understand what new features we could add to make the tool increasingly useful. From survey respondents, we learned that 52 percent of users are design professionals, 9 percent are consultants, and 7 percent are construction engineers and another 7 percent clinicians. Of the design professionals visiting the site, 66 percent are architects and 30 percent are interior designers.

The survey also showed that approximately 56 percent of those who visit the KR have read and use KPS, with nearly all sharing what they’ve learned internally with their teams and colleagues. Ninety percent of respondents use the summaries when talking with clients to help educate and inform. Each KPS is available as part of the site and as a PDF for download, making them easier to share. A link to the original source is also available.

The Knowledge Repository is free and open to all. Those who create a free login can also bookmark and save citations and summaries to a personal account, making this a tool that builds value for your work over time. If you have suggestions on additional enhancements, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

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