New Report Outlines Critical Issues in Healthcare Environments

More than 100 critical issues were identified in this Center for Health Design study

The Center for Health Design (CHD) offers its Critical Issues in Healthcare Environments, which is available for free download online.


In Fall 2007, CHD’s Research Coalition embarked on a research initiative to identify and describe the critical issues in healthcare environments.


Essential information presented here can be applied to facility planning, programming efforts, and design visioning exercises.


The objective of the project was to identify and describe critical issues in three healthcare environments – hospital, ambulatory, and long-term care settings – specifically focusing on issues and problems that have a bearing on the physical environment.


The survey findings address four themes: critical issues, locations where problems occur, the relationship between problems across facility types, and how different stakeholders responded. More than 100 critical issues in healthcare environments were identified. Specific places associated with either more or greater problems – or both – in all facilities were generally spaces where the most significant patient care was delivered, such as in patients’ rooms, treatment and exam rooms, diagnostic and treatment spaces, preoperative and recovery spaces, and staff work areas.


Waiting areas and parking areas were places where user satisfaction issues also became evident, along with outdoor activity areas in long-term care. All settings shared many issues, but the extent and focus of shared problem areas varied significantly among care settings.