I like to tell my students that if there is compelling evidence that if design can improve clinical outcomes and patient safety, then healthcare architects have a moral and ethical responsibility to utilize such evidence. This is only a small step beyond every licensed architect’s obligation to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Similarly, I propose that if credible evidence links design and outcomes, institutional boards and their executives have a moral obligation to engage architects, engineers, designers, and consultants who can and will effectively use such evidence
My colleague, Ray Pentecost, recently told me of a set of conversations he was having with friends about bioethics and responsibility as related to design evidence. It is a self-initiated, multidiscipline, and regionally distributed group including architects, physicians, and ethicists. The group’s overall focus adds a bioethics lens to the application of evidence in the health design field. They have been working for more than 2 years at the intersection of healthcare design and bioethics in order that healthcare environments and the way they are experienced can be markedly improved. The group perceives that despite well-intentioned healthcare administrators, architects, physicians, and others, the idea of connecting a strong, common ethos to a data-driven framework and research informed design for health has been slow to develop in comparison to other professions. Their ideas have slowly grown based on dialogue, publications, and presentations.
Pentecost (2022a) has produced an HERD guest editorial about the Union Internationale des Architectes Public Health Group (UIA/PHG) declaration of 2022 as the Year of Design for Health in our last issue. The group has an article published in Health Facilities Management (Hercules et al., 2022) and a piece in the Hastings Center Review (Anderson et al., 2022) and blog (Anderson et al., 2021). Hearing of their conversations led me to want to hear more. We arranged for some conversations on Zoom to further explore their ideas.
January 9, 2022, L to R, top to bottom; Hercules, Hamilton, Deemer, Pentecost, Anderson, Guenther, and Teti.
Read the full editorial HERE.