The architecture of safety: hospital design

Curr Opin Crit Care. 2007 Dec;13(6):714-9. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0b013e3282f1be6e.


Purpose of review: This paper reviews recent research literature reporting the effects of hospital design on patient safety.

Recent findings: Features of hospital design that are linked to patient safety in the literature include noise, air quality, lighting conditions, patient room design, unit layout, and several other interior design features. Some of these features act as latent conditions for adverse events, and impact safety outcomes directly and indirectly by impacting staff working conditions. Others act as barriers to adverse events by providing hospital staff with opportunities for preventing accidents before they occur.

Summary: Although the evidence linking hospital design to patient safety is growing, much is left to be done in this area of research. Nevertheless, the evidence reported in the literature may already be sufficient to have a positive impact on hospital design.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention*
  • Accidents*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor
  • Architecture
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Environmental Health*
  • Hospital Design and Construction*
  • Humans
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Safety Management*
  • Treatment Outcome