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J Contin Educ Nurs. 2009 Jun;40(6):280-8.

Designing health care environments: Part I. Basic concepts, principles, and issues related to evidence-based design.

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College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, Houston, Texas, USA.


A 2001 Institute of Medicine report captured the nation's attention regarding the dangers that can result from the health care environment. This report, fueled by the need for new facilities to be constructed, led to an explosion of research that now links the physical structure and design of health care facilities to the health and well-being of patients, nurses, other health care workers, and visitors. Continuing nursing education that highlights the importance of evidence-based design has been associated with measurable improvement in health care facilities' clinical outcomes, economic performance, employee productivity, customer satisfaction, and cultural congruency. Three major categories of outcomes can be impacted by evidence-based design: stress reduction, safety, and overall health care quality and ecology. In this article, Part I of a two-part series, the basic concepts, principles, and issues related to evidence-based design are introduced. Part II will describe continuing education programs available for nurses.

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