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Healthcare Environments Research Summit 2006:
Developing the Research Roadmap

  February 8-9, 2006 : Georgia Tech, Atlanta

Conference Overview

HERS 2006 will be an invited meeting of about 60 top designers, healthcare providers, researchers, leaders of professional organizations, funding agencies and others. The purpose of the meeting is to address three sets of questions:

1.   Topics : What are some key research topics and directions linking the physical environment of healthcare facilities to safety, quality and efficiency outcomes?

We recognize that specific programs of research will be established by collaboration between researchers, research users and funders, but in this meeting we hope to identify some topics of policy and design relevance that might be considered by the partners for organizational or financial support. For the purposes of the meeting we are focusing on three areas:

The impact of design on patient safety
The impact of design on staff work
The impact of design on patient and family experience

2.   Pipeline :What is the current state of the "pipeline" from research to application?

Is the appropriate infrastructure in place for research (academic training, research funding, publishing opportunities, conferences, traineeships, post-docs)? Has this resulted in an active research community with appropriate communications, identity, productivity, attractiveness to the best and the brightest?

Are translational mechanisms in place to filter appropriate research and alert healthcare decision-makers about new findings? For example are there appropriate-sessions at professional meetings, articles in trade journals, translational journals, etc.? If mechanisms are lacking is this a problem with lack of infrastructure or other issues? For example, do decision-makers have the background to assess research?

Are the mechanisms in place for application to allow decision-makers to employ evidence when making design and management decisions or when establishing codes, standards, and other policy, guidance or regulatory decisions? Can decision makers, designers and others, find the right information, when they need it, in a form they can use? If not what is needed to allow this to happen?

Research-end-user communication: What mechanisms are in place for researchers and end-users of information to collaborate and to understand the potential for research that results in safer and higher-quality healthcare facilities?

3.   Call to action :

What are some short term actions where strategic partnerships between philanthropy, researchers, academia, designers, healthcare providers and professional organizations might make a difference in the next 6-24 months?

What are mid-term 2-5 year actions? For example, what role might academic medical centers play in this research?

What might be the best focus of research funding (dissertation funding, large multi-center grants, etc.)?

Do we need a new journal? A research conference? Post-doctoral training? Graduate or professional traineeships? What are appropriate roles for the different constituencies represented (providers, organizations, etc.) in advancing these strategies?

What next steps should this group consider as an entity? Should we start an organization, working group, roundtable, etc.? If so, under whose sponsorship? What should its organizational home be (academia, a professional organization, a non-profit such as the Center for Health Design, the National Academies, etc.)?

Conference Chair:

Craig Zimring, PhD
Georgia Institute of Technology


The conference is jointly funded by
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)
with additional support by
Steelcase, Inc.