Addressing the Quality and Safety Gap - Part III

The Impact of the Built Environment on Patient Outcomes and the Role of Nurses in Designing Health Care Facilities

The United States is in the midst of a major health care construction boom, with spending projected to exceed $60 billion by 2014. Nurses at all levels and in every setting have a critical role to play on multidisciplinary teams charged with assessing, planning, and designing new and replacement facilities. Evidence-based design (EBD) provides a framework for ensuring that decisions about layout, lighting, and other physical elements are grounded in research, and there is some evidence to suggest it also yields positive economic returns on investment through improvements in patient outcomes, staff effectiveness, and operational efficiency. This report, the third in a miniseries on quality and safety, discusses EBD as it relates to nursing practice, administration, and education and highlights the importance of alignment among architecture, information technology, clinical processes and workplace culture.