New Web Site Helps Clinics Build More Efficient Facilities

Sept. 29, 2009

CONCORD, CA – In the wake of the recently enacted $787 billion federal stimulus package, which includes $1.5 billion to fund facility and infrastructure upgrades for community health centers, a new Web site is now in place to help safety-net clinics learn about the latest thinking in building design.

A partnership of The Center for Health Design (CHD) and the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF), Clinic Design—Transforming Primary Care Environments is intended for community health centers and other safety net clinics planning upgrades to their facilities. The site’s launch is timely: the release of stimulus dollars to renovate or build new clinic facilities began in August, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Available at, the site contains:

  • A literature review of the evidence around ambulatory care facility design;
  • A compilation of clinic design case studies;
  • A breakdown of recommended evidence-based design strategies; and
  • Advice from those working in the field.

The Impact of Environment on Quality of Care
A growing body of research indicates that the physical environment in hospitals can affect patient safety and quality of care. According to more than 1,200 studies conducted in acute care settings, different aspects of the physical environment, including noise, light, unit layout, air quality, and surface finishes, can contribute to stress, falls, medical errors, and nosocomial infections. A recent literature review by CHD indicates that the physical environment in primary care settings plays an important role in the quality of care as well.

“As awareness of evidence-based design increases and the body of evidence grows, more people have sought to build acute-care hospitals with the guidance of those skilled in the practice,” explains Debra Levin, president and CEO of The Center. “Thanks to support from CHCF, we are able to provide the same kind of tools and resources to the clinic community.”

“Community health centers provide primary care services to four million patients in California each year,” says Melissa Schoen, senior program officer at the California HealthCare Foundation. “Yet, many operate in outdated facilities, such as offices or residences built for other purposes, which affects patient safety, efficiency, and the quality of care. Better facility design is critical to delivering better health care, which is why CHCF funded development of this important new site.”

About The Center for Health Design
The Center for Health Design (CHD), formed in 1993, is a nonprofit organization of forward-thinking health care, elder care, design and construction professionals, and product manufacturers working to improve the quality of health care settings and create new environments for healthy aging. The Center’s mission is to transform health care environments for a healthier, safer world through design research, education, and advocacy. For more information on CHD, visit

About The California HealthCare Foundation
The California HealthCare Foundation is an independent philanthropy committed to improving the way health care is delivered and financed in California by promoting innovations in care and broader access to information. The Foundation’s goal is to ensure that all Californians can get the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford. For more information on CHCF, visit

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