A Conceptual Framework of the Domain of Evidence-Based Design

Roger S. Ulrich, Texas A&M University
Leonard L. Berry, Texas A&M University
Xiaobo Quan, Center for Health Design
Janet Turner Parish, Texas A&M University

The physical facilities in which healthcare services are performed play an important role in the healing process. Evidence-based design in healthcare is a developing field of study and holds great promise for benefiting key stakeholders: patients, families, physicians, nurses, other staff, and healthcare organizations. In this paper, we present and discuss a conceptual framework intended to capture the current domain of evidence-based design in healthcare. In our framework, the built environment is represented by nine design variable categories: audio environment, visual environment, safety enhancement, wayfinding system, sustainability, patient room, family support spaces, staff support spaces, and physician support spaces. Further, we present a series of matrices that indicate knowledge gaps concerning the relationship between specific healthcare facility design variable categories and participant and organizational outcomes. From this analysis, we identify fertile research opportunities from the perspectives of key stakeholders.


This paper appeared in Health Environments Research & Design Journal, Fall 2010, pp. 95-114.