While the world is abuzz with news of Amazon’s meeting with the FDA and what it may mean for healthcare innovation, there is another quieter, but meaningful, trend taking hold of hospital halls around the world.

Consider it “Arts & Sciences: The Next Generation.” Though this phrase is often linked with universities to describe an academic department, it can now be applied to the productive relationships emerging with artists, architects, and healthcare institutions around the world.

Though art-based programs aren’t necessarily new, two recent articles from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal provide excellent examples of its resurgence and demonstrate how modern collaborations are helping transform the patient experience. From the dizzyingly intricate “Paths Crossed” sculpture on display at Eskenazi Health in Indiana to the reinvention of the patient room at the University Medical Center of Princeton, it’s clear a new era of smart design has arrived.

And the impact on patient outcomes proves this isn’t art for art’s sake. Health Environments Research & Design Journal published a study examining the effect Cleveland Clinic’s carefully curated art collection had on patients. The majority of patients reported improved moods and stress levels, which was attributed to the artwork. According to the NYT article, patient satisfaction ratings at the University Medical Center of Princeton are in the 99th percentile, up 38 percent since the new rooms debuted. Infection rates are also at an all-time low.

These new efforts serve as an important reminder that health innovation is everywhere. The next great idea that will improve patient health may not come from Google, Apple or even Amazon. It may just come from the end of a paintbrush.


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