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January 2011
Healthcare Art Report

Happy New Year! As we celebrate the start of a new year, I am given the opportunity to reflect on the work that we do and plan for the future. In doing so, I am reminded of the privilege we share in working with such innovative and compassionate healthcare clients.  All of us at DAS are continuously inspired by the passion our hospital partners exhibit for their patients and their communities.

On a recent trip to Southeast HEALTH in Cape Girardeau, MO, I was mesmerized by the detailed level of planning invested in defining the experience of each individual patient's journey as they experience care at the new Cancer Center. Leadership has spent many months working with the experience design experts at Starizon Studio to create an environment that individu alizes and focuses on each patient's life and journey. Some of the innovative concepts include guides who help each patient through his or her journey and interior spaces full of warmth and restorative qualities. To learn more about what our friends at Southeast HEALTH are doing, visit this website and take a look at how they are redefining cancer care and celebrating the lives of their patients.

I am inspired by all of the forward-thinking hospitals that are taking action to transform patient experiences. I thank you for your tireless efforts and I wish you a successful and rewarding year.

Barbara's signature

Barbara Harriman, IIDA
President/Creative Director
Distinctive Art Source


P.S. It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces at the Healthcare Design conference in Las Vegas in November! Be sure to let us know if you will be at the ASHE conference in March.

Color the Skies Sneak Peek

The team at Distinctive Art Source spent Labor Day weekend in Central California this year! We were treated to awe-inspiring views at Color the Skies Balloon Festival-a benefit for Children's Hospital Central California. As part of the art program for the hospital's expansion project, DAS created the Amazing Photography Adventure, which was held at the balloon festival September 4-5, 2010 in Modesto, CA.

DAS partnered with National Geographic Adventure Photographer Colby Brown and his employer F-Stop to bring this opportunity to Central California. Together we inspired local photographers to capture the beauty and wonder of Color the Skies Balloon Festival through photographic images. Many of the images from the workshop will be displayed at Children's Hospital Central California.

We are so impressed with the quality and variety of images we received, we just have to show you a sneak peek: click here to view slideshow. This slide show is in no way a representation of the final images; it includes only one photographer's perspective. The Art Committee at Children's will make final selections which will include images from multiple photographers.

Measuring the Success of Your Art Program

After years of research and practice, there is a general agreement in the healthcare industry that appropriate artwork can contribute to a healing environment and support evidence based design concepts. But there is very little controlled investigative research currently taking place. At Distinctive Art Source, we expect this has much to do with the expense and expertise required to conduct formal post-occupancy research. However, our clients tell us that they make informed decisions on projects based on simple research initiatives that don't require a tremendous investment. And even the most elementary research project can yield valuable information in planning the next phase of your art program.

The following tips will help in developing your own informal research project to measure the effectiveness of your hospital art program.

1. Know What to Measure. It's important to understand the goals of your research and to be clear about your objectives. Take the time to define your goals clearly. What is it that you intend the art program will do? Here are some possible objectives to consider:

      Decrease patient requests for pain medication

      Decrease patient or visitor feelings of anxiety, sadness or boredom

      Increase feelings of comfort or relaxation

      Improve nurse-patient communication

      Enhance patient/visitor satisfaction in regards to wait time

      Contribute to overall satisfaction or perception of quality of care

      Produce economic benefits such as deceasing staff turnover

      Contribute to effectiveness of wayfinding strategy

      Create a positive distraction


2. Start Small. It can be overwhelming to take on a research project, especially if it seems to have too many elements. Sometimes it's best to select just one or two key questions to study. The research you gather will be targeted and focused. For example, if you want to know the effect of a digital art program in the patient room on the need for pain medication, isolate you research to that question. It can be tempting to capture additional data at the same time, but it's best to collect only the information that you can potentially use later. You can also start small by creating and measuring a pilot the program on one unit or area of the hospital.

3. Establish a Benchmark. As with any type of research, it's important to know what the benchmark is. After you clearly define your goal, establish an accurate benchmark so you can measure your results. This is a step that often causes confusion because it's difficult to isolate all the variables that could have a potential impact on the results. For example, how can we accurately measure the impact of an art program on staff turnover? Since you are probably already measuring turnover rates, your benchmark is in place. Consider further defining your benchmark by adding a question to an employee satisfaction survey that addresses the effect of artwork on satisfaction.

4. Think Outside the Survey Box. Most of us think "survey" when we consider research projects. But you can gather valuable data through other collection methods as well. Consider interviews with patients, family or visitors as an option. You can also try focus groups of staff, physicians or community members. Or, perhaps there is an opportunity to measure behavior via observation. Remember to tap into existing research tools to make the most of scarce resources.

5. Respond to Findings. If you invest the time and resources into collecting valuable information about the effectiveness of your art program, then be sure to act on the findings! Communicate the results internally and make the necessary changes to existing and future art programs.

The more information we gather about the impact of healthcare art, the better prepared we will be to transform the visual experience for patients and visitors. More information about research in the field of evidence based design for healthcare can be found on the Center for Healthcare Design website at http://www.healthdesign.org/.

How are you measuring the success of your art program? We would love to hear from you!

Join us for an Audio Conference!

Briefings Media Group has invited DAS to host an audio conference:

Thursday, January 20
1:30 pm - 3:00 EST

"Benefits of Connecting with the Community: Solutions and Strategies for Working with Local Artists to Create a Healthcare Appropriate Art Program"

For more information or to register, click here.

In This Issue
Color the Skies Sneak Peek
Measuring Success!
Art and Artists of Note
Free White Paper for Artists
Art and Artists of Note

Visit these artists and explore their unique nature inspired creations.

Roto Studio - Designers of Clever Interactive Spaces

Ralphonso - Kinetic Light and Water Sculptures

Ireland Watercolors - Large Scale Transparent Watercolor

In the News!

Room with a View...Can hospital room design help patients heal faster and reduce falls? One New Jersey hospital aims to find out with a fully operational "mock room" as part of a research study funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant. Room with a View Toward Better Healthcare, WSJ, June 10, 2010


Noisy Hospital...How do you write a prescription for "shhh?" Drake Bennett examines the clamor of modern medicine in "Fixing the Noisy Hospital."

DAS is Reading

Stay in Touch!

Email Barbara Harriman

Phone: (703) 956-1946

Bamboo Print 

Three Tips for Artists!

Successful patient-based art programs in healthcare settings often showcase the works of local artists, which portray familiar and comforting images. As evidence continues to emerge about the positive effects of the arts in healthcare, hospitals nationwide are turning to their local art communities to help create a healing environment. They're using art programs to expand the boundaries of the facility, engage the community and generate support. And artists are quickly recognizing the opportunities (and challenges!) of working in the healthcare market. If you are an artist seeking to share your talent with others through hospital art programs, don't miss this special report just for you!

Read our free whitepaper to learn more about the "Three Tips for Artists to Succeed in Healthcare"

Coming in the Next Issue:

Art Master Planning

 Distinctive Art Source


Distinctive Art Source is a turnkey art consulting firm working exclusively in healthcare. We guide clients through the process of creating customized patient and evidence-based art programs centered on research, owner, architect and designer input.

Our goals are twofold: to introduce unexpected art options and to involve local artists whenever possible. Distinctive Art Source's architectural background allows us to blend seamlessly into the design process, providing facilities with necessary timelines and budgets to keep projects on schedule and within budget.

Established in 2003, Distinctive Art Source has served a pivotal role in creating patient-based art programs in millions of square feet of hospital space. Distinctive Art Source connects clients with hundreds of artists throughout the country to enable hospitals to conceptualize, visualize and realize the goals of their art programs.

Distinctive Art Source
14382 Gulliver Road
Centreville, VA 20120

(703) 956-1946