Design, Healthcare, Innovation
May 6, 2011
“Companies prosper when they tap into a power that every one of us already has – the ability to reach outside of ourselves and connect with other people, to walk in someone else’s shoes.” That’s Dev Patnaik, author of Wired to Care , speaking. He believes empathy is key to innovation. And everyone from marketing to R&D benefits from a better understanding of their customers and end users.
We agree. Empathy plays an important role in Herman Miller research, design, and development of new products, particularly in healthcare. We gain empathy by engaging with nurses and other caregivers in multiple ways. Facility tours, focus groups, gaming sessions, and job shadowing help us develop insight into the work of caregivers, to really understand what they do, what their work day is like. We then do our best to share those experiences with product development teams through reports, hallway conversations, and workshops.
We believe products like Compass express the empathy we have with caregivers, patients, families, and administrators.
February 16, 2011
Healthcare design is a growing part of our business, and our research in this area has helped us develop a portfolio of problem-solving products and enabled us to partner with healthcare organizations interested in building and designing efficient spaces for staff and patients.
Much of our research includes evidence-based design, which is why I decided to pursue Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC) from The Center for Health Design. Evidence-based design is the process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes. It’s still in its infancy and not without skeptics. Yet, it’s a rapidly growing field and it’s making important contributions to the design of healthcare environments.
The accreditation program provides participants with an understanding of how to incorporate findings such as the restorative effect of nature into healthcare building design decisions. For example, views of nature reduce a patient’s use of pain medication and reduce stress. We also know that private patient rooms reduce the spread of infection and improve communication between caregivers and patients and family.
Overall, I’m looking forward to putting this accreditation to work and becoming part of a community that focuses on the education and assessment of an evidence-based design process.
December 20, 2010
This fall, Herman Miller’s Insight + Exploration team and Herman Miller Healthcare worked with senior interior design students at Kendall College of Art and Design. The students in Professor Lee Davis’ Studio V class completed the interior design of an adult healthcare clinic, which includes primary care and an infusion center. Herman Miller provided knowledge about the function of the space and a comprehensive product portfolio that allowed the students to focus on creating an innovative, healing environment for these two unique patient groups.
The students did their own research, learning from interactions with office managers, nurses, physicians, and close family members who experienced these types of spaces and treatments.
“Research is a huge part of healthcare design. Herman Miller’s healthcare knowledge was a great assistance in our learning,” said student Melissa M. Suchowolec.
When asked to identify a key learning, there was consensus that the complexities and rigorous requirements of healthcare design were eye opening. The thoughtfulness and attention to detail would make them better designers of any space, not just healthcare.
Experiencing the students excitement, seeing their innovative designs, and hearing how this project had influenced their design thinking made this is a great collaboration and a meaningful experience for me and the Herman Miller team.
October 27, 2010
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Design Research Conference hosted by the Interdisciplinary Design Institute of Washington State University.
I heard several presentations about the latest research surrounding architectural and environmental design for health care environments, but one story from a keynote speaker has stayed with me. It focused on how our total health goes beyond our physical health, and how biophelia—a love for the natural world—plays a large role in it.
Interior designer Barbara Huelat, with Huelat Parimucha Ltd., asked the audience to think about the last time they really felt alive and energized. She then asked us to raise our hands if that experience was in nature and about 90 percent of the hands went up. Mine did, too.
Biophilia is a familiar concept to me and Herman Miller Healthcare, but Huelat’s story is a powerful reminder of the restorative power of nature.
October 21, 2010
Because almost all of our Herman Miller Healthcare products are used by nurses, we believe it’s important to be aware of research that could affect their work.
As the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, nurses will continue to play a key role in overcoming challenges and fulfilling the promises of our rapidly changing healthcare system.
The latest research about the nursing comes from the Institute of Medicine in a report called The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.
Four key recommendations emerged from the report:
• Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training.
• Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
• Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States.
• Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and an improved information infrastructure.
Judging by the number of healthcare media references, The Future of Nursing report has started an important conversation about the role of nurses in providing care.
This report will also inform our conversations with customers about environments such as patient rooms and unit cores and how they will support nurses in the future.
September 15, 2010
According to the The Journal of Nursing Administration, “Nurses tend to overlook their physical environment and ‘do their job.’”
This is unfortunate because the physical environment should assist nurses, as well as doctors, patients, and other staff, with doing their jobs. And it should adapt to them when those jobs change.
Herman Miller Healthcare is continuing to research this issue by listening to those who work in healthcare environments and experience problems and workarounds when doing their jobs. It’s important to ensure that any solution we develop supports them and has a positive impact on their job satisfaction.
Photo via: workingnurse.com
July 7, 2010
Imagine being required by a hospital or insurance company to be present at all times in a family member’s patient room?
I’ve heard about this happening in some U.S. hospitals and in healthcare facilities abroad. Evidence suggests social support from family helps patients heal emotionally and physically. The presence of family also can reduce the risk of a patient fall. So, it’s likely that teaching family to be caregivers inside and outside of the hospital will increase as hospitals face the need to reduce 30-day hospital re-admissions and deal with staff shortages.
This prompts the need for a family zone in the patient room, which is referenced in a research summary titled, “Patient Rooms: A Changing Scene of Healing,” but what features create the best family zone? You might see a work surface, a place to sleep, access to power, or Wi-Fi. Some hospitals already are including a second television or refrigerator. Going forward, patient rooms will have to adapt to support the needs of families as caregivers.
May 12, 2010
Today is the birthday of Florence Nightingale. It’s also the last day of National Nurses Week. It seems like an appropriate opportunity to highlight the dedication and hard work of the nursing profession.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a week shadowing nurses in a hospital emergency department (ED) as part of a pre- and post-occupancy study Herman Miller Healthcare is conducting to compare the hospital’s existing facility to a new space that will be ready later this year.
It was a privilege and a humbling experience to spend 50 hours with the ED nurses. I expected the nurses to be caring and professional to all patients but I did not fully appreciate the difficult and stressful conditions under which ED nurses must maintain their professionalism. The tremendous respect I have for them and other health professionals has only grown.
Everyone who came through the door was treated with equality and received the same quality of care, whether it was someone with a sore throat who should not have been in the ED, or a frequent visitor to the ED hoping for a few pain relievers, or a chest pain sufferer who needed immediate attention. Large or small, frivolous or urgent, everyone was respected and cared for. The nurses certainly were frustrated with patients or worn down by a busy day in the ED but I never saw this come out during an interaction with the patient.
Thanks to all the nurses for their dedication to their patients. And special thanks to the nurses that allowed me to spend time with them. Florence Nightingale would be proud.