Evidence-Based Design ‘Evolving Fast’

Ricardo Codinhoto, Patricia Tzortzopoulos, Mike Kagioglou, Duane Passman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


The search for continuous improvement in healthcare services has stimulated different levels of discussion about how to improve the design of healthcare facilities. Improvements have been achieved at different levels by adopting numerous solutions. However there is uncertainty related to what is best in different contexts. This necessitates an evidence base to be established to better inform decisions in the healthcare domain. Another issue raising governmental and academic debate relates to whether or not substantial investments in the public service realm are delivering value-for money. Since the pressure to justify such investment is high, the use of scientific evidence to aid decision-making has been encouraged. The systematic use of evidence to support decisions first emerged in the field of medicine, and has since been adopted in other fields, such as management and design. In relation to healthcare projects, several studies mentioned the use of evidence in supporting design decisions.1,2,3,4 These studies reported the findings based on different theoretical frameworks, and there are myriad subjects and methods that have been used to investigate the effects of the built environment on health outcomes. This knowledge domain is multidisciplinary in nature, and contributions have been made in different fields, ranging from medical to engineering research. Although there are certain implications of adopting evidence based design (EBD) in practice, these have not been investigated extensively. In this respect this paper discusses several aspects related to the practice of EBD in healthcare projects. For that purpose an extensive literature review was conducted on the relationship between healthcare environments and health outcomes. In addition, workshops with designers, healthcare planners, and project managers, were carried out to support the arguments presented. Preliminary results show there are difficulties related to the collection and compilation of evidence, as well as its implementation throughout the project lifecycle. The idea of using evidence to inform decision-makers in design is, of course, not new in the context of healthcare buildings. Early in the 1960s the UK National Health Service (NHS) began developing Health Building Notes (HBNs) and Health Technical Memoranda (HTMs) with a basis on evidence. Since then those documents have been updated with current scientific findings and good practices. In addition there are more recently developed tools to support EBD, such as the NHS Environmental Assessment Tool (NEAT), Achieving Excellence Design Evaluation Toolkit (AEDET Evolution), and A Staff/Patient Environment Calibration Tool (ASPECT).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-31
Number of pages3
JournalHealth Estate Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


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