January 14, 2016

HKS received an inaugural Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) Certificate of Research Excellence award for its field research and parametric analysis of a key medical-surgical unit. 

This research study — conducted at ProMedica Toledo Hospital in Toledo, Ohio — resulted in the development of new simulation software that allows human behavior to be simulated during the design process to base on not just walking distances but also walking sequences. 

“Literature emphasizes the importance of the healthcare workplace and the effect on patient outcomes,” said Steve Jacobson, principal, HKS, Inc. “What is lacking are studies conducted on-site and used for immediate application in design to assess and improve work conditions.” 

To generate data, a field research and simulation study was conducted in a 40-bed medical-surgical unit at ProMedica Toledo Hospital. Online surveys, systematic behavioral observations, semistructured interviews, sound studies and advanced spatial analysis through parametric modeling were conducted. The tool developed is a design diagnostic that uses multiple methods and combines HKS’ research expertise in field research and parametric analysis. 

“Patterns were unfolded during the research,” said Camila Moretti, AIA, ACHA, senior planner with HKS, Inc. “There is a distinct difference in beginning a day and night shift patterns and between walking distance and walking sequence.”

The conclusion of the research study suggests hospitals should co-locate medications, supplies and nourishment in addition to providing accommodations to place work on wheels (mobile workstations). In addition, spatial and technological connectively between the care team and patients should be considered while designing a medical-surgical unit. 

“Understanding the key activity sequences helps determine the proximity of spaces in relationship to patient rooms and each other,” Moretti said. 

“The research helped our leadership team at ProMedica see things we hadn't seen before,” said Alison Smith Avendt, MBA, vice president of operations at ProMedica Toledo Hospital and president of ProMedica Transportation Network. “We have more informed conversations with our staff and have created a better environment.” 

The EDRA Certificate of Research Excellence award is a merit-based certification that recognizes rigorous, valuable and impactful practice-based research to spark innovation and promote best practice in environmental design. The award was presented to ProMedica, HKS LINE (Laboratory for INtensive Exploration) and HKS’s nonprofit research unit CADRE, a collaborative project where the owner and architectural team came together to integrated research in practice. 

Celebrating more than 40 years of research-based innovations, EDRA exists to advance and disseminate environmental design research, thereby improving understanding of the inter-relationships of people with their built and natural surroundings toward creation and curation of environments responsive to human needs. EDRA’s lineage of members has pioneered environment and behavior studies, evidence-based design, facility evaluation methods, sustainability, active living community planning, universal design, diversity in design, workplace design and informatics, and digital technologies.

HKS, Inc. is ranked among the top healthcare architectural firms in the world by Modern Healthcare and BD World Architecture. Operating from 26 offices worldwide, HKS focuses on innovative healthcare design, process and delivery. The firm’s award-winning healthcare architecture includes 2,000 unique projects representing 80,000 beds and 184 million square feet. HKS projects have garnered numerous awards and coverage in worldwide publications. The firm’s healthcare specialists are highly respected international speakers. For more information, contact Trish Martineck at tmartineck@hksinc.com.


Posted in Advisory Practice, Health