In 1978, the World Health Organization launched the Global Strategy for Health for All by the year 2000, which aimed at ensuring that every resident in the world has access to appropriate healthcare services. Unfortunately, the present status of this strategy is still distant from the original worldwide target. To achieve such goal, various types of high-standard healthcare facilities should be designed constructed, especially in developing countries.

A healthcare facility is known to be full of complexity and contradiction. Given the differences in perspectives of patients, medical staff, and managers, architects encounter huge challenges to meet such varying needs on healthcare facility designs. In addition, these needs and problems change over time. Therefore, a collaborative work among researchers, designers, and managers of healthcare facilities is necessary. Practical problems cannot be solved by research only, but the research results should be applied to healthcare projects effectively.

To promote the academic exchanges, we invited some senior experts of different backgrounds to contribute a series of papers on the common issues such as the relationships between physical setting and operation model, as well as between physical environment and behavior, the application of evidence-based design (EBD), and the utilization of the digital tools in healthcare facility design.

David Green׳s article describes the development and implementation process of household/neighborhood model for skilled nursing facilities during the past 46 years by a case study of Evergreen Retirement Community in Oshkosh. This model aims to create a kind of small residential living environments, which are intended to provide residents the resources they associate with “home”. Given that the physical setting, organization, staff, and operations for the skilled nursing facilities using the household/neighborhood model are significantly different from those of hospital-like nursing homes, the rationale was also discussed in detail. The current paper can be a useful reference to the design and construction of new long-term care projects.

EBD has attracted interest in healthcare facility design. Stephen Verderber et al. presented a two-stage healthcare facility design based on the analysis results of the entrants to a recent US completion.

David Morgareidge, Hui Cai, and Jun Jia presented a case study that applied both discrete event simulation (DES) and space syntax analysis (SSA) to design the Emergency Department (ED). This case study demonstrates that the digital tools, such as DES and SSA, are very effective in designing high-performance healthcare facilities.

Studies on environment and behavior have constantly attracted considerable interest in healthcare design. Zhe Wang examined the relationships between nearby outdoor environments and the physical activities of the elderly. Higher levels of physical activity are found to be positively related with environmental features such as transitional-areas, connecting-paths, walk-ability, and less paving.

We are very grateful to the authors and reviewers of this panel. In addition, more contributions to the healthcare facility research are expected, especially those by scholars from developing countries. Therefore, we are eagerly looking forward for the journal Frontiers of Architectural Research to become an academic platform that launches exchange and cooperation related to healthcare facility research and design.

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Published on 12/05/17
Submitted on 12/05/17

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