Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend
Evidence-Based Design

As a member of the nationwide Pebble Project, Sacred Heart is committed to creating a healing environment that improves outcomes through the creative use of evidence-based design. Like evidence-based medicine, evidence-based design relies on research and data to make decisions about building design.

The Pebble Project is a joint research effort between The Center for Health Design, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, and health care providers such as Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. We signed on as a Pebble Partner in July of 2003; at that time, we were 13th in the list of Pebbles.

The purpose of the Pebble Project is to create a ripple effect in the community by sharing researched and documented examples of health care facilities that have used evidence-based design to improve the healing environment, quality of care and financial performance of the institution.

By incorporating evidence-based design into their facilities, Pebble Partners have seen reduced staff turnover, increases in patient satisfaction, reduced patient falls, fewer hospital-acquired infections, decreases in patient transfers, and more.

Sacred Heart is studying how its design features at the RiverBend campus are affecting the rates of medication errors and hospital-acquired infections, length of stay, staff retention, patient satisfaction and employee satisfaction to ensure that the facility is continually improving.

Our current efforts as a Pebble Partner have already produced documented results and affected change in the design of Sacred Heart at RiverBend. The majority of the private patient rooms at Sacred Heart at RiverBend have been equipped with patient lifts due to research performed at Sacred Heart’s original hospital campus in Eugene. After examining data from the intensive care and neurology units at that facility—where there are lifts in each room—the team found that staff injuries from patient handling were almost eliminated. The staff greatly appreciated this new tool, and Sacred Heart saw a cost savings on treating employee injuries, yielding a return on investment within two years. Installing lifts in patient rooms has caught on with other hospitals in the country that have followed Sacred Heart’s lead, particularly those involved with the Pebble Project.