As a founding member of the EDAC (Evidence-based Design Accreditation and Certification) program, with The Center for Health Design, I’ve been involved with countless conversations about “How to conduct evidence-based design.” The mission of the EDAC program is to develop a community of accredited industry professionals who have knowledge about an evidence-based design process, but not to educate all these professionals into trained researchers. Which leads to my question: “Is Evidence-based Design an all or nothing process?”
There are two parts to the evidence-based design process as outlined by the EDAC program.
Existing Evidence: Identifying and using available and credible research to inform design.
New Evidence: Hypothesize, gather data and measure results to share with the design industry.
In a survey conducted earlier this year, nearly all respondents identified that they are using “available best evidence” to inform their healthcare planning, design, and decision-making process. The majority of respondents noted that they are linking the “evidence” they’ve found to specific design interventions that are aimed at improved safety, operational efficiency, and user experience. On the reverse side, once the questions reached the “create new evidence” tipping point, few respondents answered “yes” to creating a research hypothesis or collecting and analyzing post-occupancy data.
So, back to the question at hand: “If I don’t complete the entire eight steps of the EDAC evidence-based design process are you really doing evidence-based design?”
My answer, along with many of my EDAC peers is “YES!”
Evidence-based Design is not an ALL or NOTHING exercise. How much or how little EBD work is done on a particular project will be directly dependent on how much or how little there is of a lot of other things, such as project type, time, money, leadership commitment, interdisciplinary team, etc.
So, if you’re like the young architect I coached during the EBD Process Improvement Workshop at the HEALTHCARE DESIGN.10 conference, who is unsure about how EBD “fits” in Critical Access Hospital projects, perhaps this will help:
Finding and applying “credible research” to your project, even when it validates your experiential knowledge, adds depth to the decision-making process.