Researchers are amassing a body of evidence that makes a compelling case for vast alterations in the way health care facilities look, feel, and function. Their hypothesis is that changing the health care environment by reducing stress factors can enhance the care-giving process, improve the delivery of medical technology, and help reduce the cost of care. Much of the research behind evidence-based design examines how humans respond to environmental spaces, stimuli, and changes. A fundamental premise is the biophilia hypothesis, which asserts that since the earliest evolutionary phases of human life, people have had a visceral, survivalist need to be sensitive and responsive to their surroundings - and that this trait is still hardwired into contemporary life. The Pebble Partners, a group of four health care organizations, hope to create a ripple effect in health care by learning how planning and design can change organizational behavior.
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