Bridging the Gap: Multidisciplinary Collaboration in Medicine and Architecture

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Elizabeth Viets-Schmitz
Diana Anderson


Evidence-Based Design, Best Practice, Hospital Design, Evidence-Based Medicine


As the world becomes increasingly connected and information is freely shared, a trend toward interdisciplinary collaboration is taking place in both industry and education. This trend is highlighted by recent collaboration between clinicians and architects in both research and design. In the design of healthcare spaces, architects are working with clinicians and researchers to employ an evidence-based approach to making design decisions. The advent of Evidence-Based Design represents a shift from basing design decisions solely on tradition or opinion to an approach that emphasizes the importance of using credible research to inform design decisions. The research expertise of clinicians is vital to the practice of Evidence-Based Design, which traces its origins to the well-established concepts of Evidence-Based Medicine. In the context of healthcare, Evidence-Based Design focuses on design interventions that help make hospitals safer and more comfortable for patients and staff, that promote healing, and that are fiscally sustainable. Spurred by a growing body of credible research on the impact of environmental features of a building on patients and staff, architects and clinicians have a unique opportunity to work together toward a common goal of evidence-based practice.