Clemson, MUSC endowed chairs to work to improve hospital room design

Charleston Regional Business Journal
June 8, 2010

A $5 million grant from Health Sciences South Carolina will enable the creation of the Center of Economic Excellence in Health Facilities Design and Testing, Clemson University President James F. Barker said Thursday.

The center will support two endowed chairs, one in human factors and clinical practice at the Medical University of South Carolina and one at Clemson in health care architecture.

The $5 million matches S.C. Education Lottery funding allocated through the S.C. Centers of Economic Excellence program.

The new center will build on a half-dozen years of research at Clemson’s School of Architecture to design an improved hospital room that reduces medical errors, falls and infections and improves patient care.

The $10 million Health Facilities Design and Testing center will conduct research, develop prototypes and expand and disseminate knowledge on health facility design’s impacts on health and health care delivery, in order to improve the architectural settings for patients and staff, Clemson officials said.

The center will focus on the relationship among physical health care environments in four areas: health outcomes and patient safety; patient, family and staff satisfaction; operational efficiency and effectiveness; and ability to accommodate change.

The foundational research has been conducted by Clemson University’s graduate program in architecture and health with its longtime research partners Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System and NXT, a nonprofit health care design program.

David Allison, director of Clemson’s health care architecture program and director of the Health Facilities Design and Testing Center of Economic Excellence, said the center adds an important component to the study of health facilities design.

“It is always important for architects to understand the context in which they work,” he said. “That is particularly important in health care architecture, and this collaborative program, which provides a holistic approach to considerations of design, human factors and clinical needs, will be a unique — and we believe extremely valuable — approach to improving the quality of settings for patient care and health care facilities design overall.”

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