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I wish I could put my finger on what needs to be done to improve healthcare. Not unlike the great debaters on Capitol Hill, I’m having a difficult time deciding on what changes need to be made to put the system on track toward delivering optimal care at an optimal cost.

What I’ve learned from many of my clients, including Herman Miller Healthcare, and a recent Fast Company article is that the road to good – no, I mean great – healthcare doesn’t start with the doctors, nurses or administrators, but with the facility’s very design. By utilizing an evidence-based approach, where research supports the blueprint of a building, healing spaces can provide a stronger continuum of care and sense of community. This connection was made completely evident during my visit with Herman Miller two weeks ago when I toured its new GreenHouse facility – a real life, interactive healthcare space dedicated to helping medical teams problem solve everyday challenges, from patient safety to staff productivity, through the use of well-researched design.  During my time there it was clear that everything from the paint on the walls to the location of a sink can either enhance or impede the rate of healing patients experience.

For me, what it all boils down to is whether through design or mandated legislation, healthcare needs a disruption. In a country where the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are celebrated, access to great healthcare should be non-negotiable.

By Emily Dell, Account Supervisor, Stern + Associates

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