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Georgia Tech and Herman Miller Healthcare Selected for AIA / AAHF Research Grant

Research Project to Focus on Team Spaces Within Patient-Centered Medical Homes

May 29, 2014

The Academy of Architecture for Health Foundation (AAHF, part of the American Institute of Architects) has announced Georgia Tech and Herman Miller Healthcare as the recipients of the Foundation's 2014 annual research grant. Herman Miller and Georgia Tech were selected for their research proposal "Designing Team Spaces to Support Collaboration and Communication in Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH)."

"We're excited to partner with Georgia Tech in applying for and receiving a generous grant from the Academy of Architecture for Health Foundation, said Ross Westlake, Herman Miller National Accounts Manager and a researcher on the project. "This research project will focus on exploring the design of team spaces to support collaboration in patient centered medical home (models) for outpatient care."

The AAHF is dedicated to furthering excellence in healthcare architecture through financial support of educational and research programs. Its mission is to enhance the knowledge and effectiveness of those who create healthcare environments through the funding of critical educational and research activities.

Focus: Patient Centered Medical Homes

As healthcare moves to models of collaborative, multidisciplinary care in outpatient settings, many clinics are creating open team rooms intended to support care coordination. However, considerable literature since the 1970s shows that open work spaces can actually decrease communication if not properly designed and suited for the tasks, culture and technology of an organization.

Georgia Tech lead researcher and SimTigrate Design Lab Associate Director Jennifer DuBose said the primary research question their efforts will focus on is, "what are the critical factors, care flow, and considerations affecting communication, collaboration and staff satisfaction that should be considered when designing and configuring a clinical team space such as those required to support PCMH clinics?"

The project will include the following components:

  • Review of existing literature, focusing on how to accommodate both a range of interaction tasks and intense individual work in an open team room as well as outpatient process models.
  • Documentation of case studies based on analysis of plans and phone interviews.
  • Development of metrics and criteria to help design teams assess the likely success of designs, using tools such as space syntax and process modeling
  • Development of a full scale mockup in the Georgia Tech SimTigrate Design Lab, utilizing a proposed process model to inform the design
  • Creation of practical principles for designers and clients; and
  • Creation of a presentation to debut at Healthcare Design 2015.

"We will build on the deep expertise of a multidisciplinary team to create a rigorous project that will result in information that will be immediately usable by architects and their clients," said DuBose.

Georgia Tech's Dr. Craig Zimring and Jennifer DuBose will be presenting some of their initial learnings about the importance of and critical design factors for shared workspaces in PCMH outpatient clinics in the Herman Miller Healthcare Showroom at NeoCon 14.

About Herman Miller's Healthcare Businesses
Herman Miller Healthcare brings together the comprehensive offerings of Herman Miller, Geiger and Nemschoff, to help healthcare organizations and their partners create environments for people to work well, get well, and live well. Driven by a deep commitment to research-based, problem-solving design, they collaborate with industry thought leaders and world class designers to inspire, develop, and manufacture innovative furnishings and equipment centered on the needs of the people who work throughout healthcare systems. With 80 years of combined healthcare industry experience, and a team of clinical and workplace strategists, Herman Miller Healthcare's solutions improve the work experience and performance of professionals wherever care is delivered, supported or administered.

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