Healthcare Blog: Environment of Healing

Healthcare Blog: Environment of Healing

PEDCO is a professional engineering design consulting firm.  Why, then, a Blog about an “Environment of Healing”? Healthcare is the maintenance and improvement of physical and mental health. Today’s patients, along with many healthcare organizations, recognize the greater need for holistic health solutions. A holistic solution takes into account the whole individual, one’s own responsibility for one’s own well-being, and the total influences – social, psychological, environmental that affect human health. PEDCO’s engineering design services can provide insight and solutions for many elements relating to health in the build environment. These services will be explained in this blog, along with applications and successes. In addition, this blog will provide general information on trending health & wellness topics. The overall intention is to be a source of relevant information for parties interested in creating an “Environment of Healing” in any setting.  So let’s get started and keep coming back to read more.

7.28.17: When most Americans drink a glass of tap water, they’re also getting a dose of industrial or agricultural contaminants. Many of the 250-plus contaminants detected through water sampling and testing are at levels that are perfectly legal under the Safe Drinking Water Act or state regulations, but well above levels authoritative scientific studies have found to pose health risks. That’s the disturbing truth documented by EWG’s Tap Water Database – the most complete source available on the quality of U.S. drinking water, aggregating and analyzing data from almost 50,000 public water utilities nationwide. Link to the Database.

7.24.17: Awareness of healthy building design continues to grow. Cushman & Wakefield is a leading global real estate services firm, and has just published a 74-page document titled “Well Work Place, Making Spaces Human Again”. A quote from the Executive Summary: “Mounting evidence all points in one direction: wellbeing in the workplace is fast becoming a strategic imperative.” Read the Article. 

7.3.17: Here is another great article about health and wellness in the built environment. Read the Article. 

6.22.17: As various standards programs clash for the lead in health & wellness for the built environment, fitwel and Boma Best have joined forces in Canada. Both programs are cost-effective and high impact approaches. It seems like this approach will resonate with end-users focused on delivering healthy (and efficient) environments to their employees.  Read the Article.

6.5.17: When I read this article, I thought to myself “Here We Go!”. In the business world, economics drives decisions. Good intentions, good planning, and even good outcomes don’t last long if the economics don’t support the initiatives. Even in the non-profit world, it’s “No Margin…No Mission”. The attached article outlines a financial incentive program for borrowers who incorporate healthy design features for new or rehabilitated affordable multifamily rental properties. This program will improve population health by addressing at-risk populations. This should be a huge step forward for healthy buildings. Read the Article.

5.19.17: Here is a fascinating map and article regarding life expectancy in the US. One conclusion could be that health & wellness programs don’t often attract the at-risk population, for a variety of reasons. Like many aspects of current society, disparities in life expectancy seem to be growing instead of shrinking. Benefits of healthy buildings improve the health & wellness of everyone in the building, regardless of all other factors. Read the Article.

4.26.17: Communicating new ideas is a critical component of success. Here is a great article that explains the relationship between LEED, WELL and other building programs. Also note how technology is helping to turn these ideas into realities.  Read the Article. 

4.10.17: Interest in healthy buildings is exploding and numerous organizations are developing guidelines for design and construction of these facilities. The following article is a great description of one of these programs, called FITWEL. The lead-in says that FITWEL might be the best thing since sliced bread – “we think that FITWEL (and similar programs) are even better than sliced bread…because they are healthier and will improve the health & wellness of millions of office workers“. Read the Article

3.16.17: Who wouldn’t like to work in the “World’s Healthiest Office Building”? Why can’t this building get built in Ohio? This would be a huge marketing differentiator for a building owner, and an enormous benefit to the building occupants. Read the Article

3.9.17: We can survive for weeks without food and days without water. Yet, we can only survive a few minutes without air. The impact of air quality on human health is significant. For commercial spaces, healthy air leads to higher productivity and less sick days. This article provides an update on efforts to develop global standards for indoor and outdoor environmental quality monitoring systems and sensors. Read the Article.

2.23.17: Caregivers have unique insights into the facilities in which they work. The referenced article; “Bad Hospital Design is Making Us Sicker”, is written by Dr. Dhruv Khullar, MD, a resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Khullar mentions air quality, noise, access to nature, and general design as areas for improvement. New design standards for all of these areas have been developed by a number of “Healthy Building” organizations. Understanding and implementing these new standards will produce the improvements Dr. Khullar is looking for.  Read the Article. 

1.13.17: The Healthcare industry isn’t just about Hospitals anymore. Healthcare Systems understand the importance of numerous access points for patients to utilize their services. At the same time, Healthcare Systems realize that they cannot always own or control all of these access points. Partnerships like Hotels and Hospitals (see link below) are a win-win for both parties. Hotels have a built-in source of guests, and can focus on providing hospitality services. Healthcare Systems benefit from keeping patients and their families close by for follow-up visits, potential complications, and meeting spaces for group services. These types of hybrid solutions will become an integral part of the healthcare continuum of care.  Read the Article.

12.23.16: The United Health Foundation recently released America’s Health Rankings for 2016. These rankings started in 1990 and is the longest-running assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis. It is founded on the World Health Organization holistic definition of health, which says that health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not just the absence of disease or infirmity.  The Tri-State area of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky finished 39th, 40th, and 45th out of the 50 states. Although none of the evaluation criteria were specific to buildings, one of the four categories of health determinants is Community & Environment. (The other three are: Behaviors, Policy & Clinical Care.) Numerous studies have shown that designs that promote healthy buildings improve the health of the people who visit and work in those buildings. Our Tri-State area can clearly use some improvement. Link to the Rankings 

12.21.16: The Biophilia Hypothesis suggests that humans have an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. Researchers are examining connections between nature and health benefits, and buildings that incorporate nature in design are proving to be beneficial for all users. Although winter weather often makes it more difficult to enjoy the great outdoors, there are countless benefits for getting away from our screens. Read the Article.

12.14.16: Stephen Hawking is one of the ten smartest people in the World, as measured by IQ. In a recent speech, he commented on what he describes as “the most serious public health problems of the 21st century”. Short and to the point, his observations serve as a cornerstone for improving population health.”  Read his speech.