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Design and Safety Can Co-Exist

As the tie between patient experience (specifically HCAHPSa scores) and reimbursement continues to strengthen, progressive design is more important than ever in healthcare. Designers have a hard time balancing the cost constraints, the need for durability, and the design – an aspect that is crucial for attracting patients and enhancing their experience. Learn about how integrating elements of glass benefits your organization, your employees, and definitely your patients!

What aspects are measured by HCAHPS?

Patient Experience

Healthcare organizations exist to take care of people, and continuous improvement is expected. Reimbursement is directly tied to HCAHPS scores, and cost pressures continue to increase, so healthcare organizations, and especially their designers, have a big challenge on their hands. HCAHPS is a survey methodology created by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to standardize collection and public reporting on hospital care from the patient’s perspective.1 While patient experience is a compilation of many different factors, the overall rating of the hospital is impacted greatly by its design aesthetic.

In 2004, the Center for Health Design engaged researchers from Texas A&M University and Georgia Institute of Technology about the relationship between healthcare design and patient outcomes. Their research proved that evidence-based healthcare design can actually reduce stress and improve outcomes for patients and caregivers. “The researchers found that single-bed rooms, lower noise levels, ergonomic designs, and better ventilation, lighting and layout can reduce medical errors, lower stress levels among staff and patients, and promote faster healing with fewer infections, less pain and less reliance on drugs.” As a result of the research, the Center for Health Design produced multiple publications on evidence-based design to help designers understand how they can incorporate the research findings into their plans.2

Did you know that Clarus has the ability to cut glass into any shape and integrate it into your healthcare interiors? Designers can dream up the most incredible ideas – and we can print it on glassboards. Customize your glass with any color to match your unique branding with Colors by Clarus™ or provide your own custom color match. Also, Clarus’ proprietary ColorDrop™ high resolution printing technology can be used for branding or to make a beautiful aesthetic for the patients and employees of healthcare organizations. Healthcare designers can bring in nature and calming colors to reduce the stress for patients and their families. Your design dreams can be a reality and elevated by the beauty of glass.

Some of Clarus’ favorite projects include children’s hospital designs! Healthcare interior designers do a wonderful job of making children’s hospitals look like fun places in order to help with the fear and stress that kids face. Use our ColorDrop printing technology to bring fun into your pediatric spaces. For example, at Anna Shaw Children’s Hospital, Clarus helped the interior design team use ColorDrop printing to transform the hospital into a forest.

Elephant in hallway

Importance of Collaboration and Communication

While the need for effective communication between patients, their families, and clinicians is by no means a new challenge, with the increasing importance of HCAHPS scores, patient experience is a major focus for all healthcare organizations. A lot of research has taken place over the last decade to study the impact of patient and family engagement (PFE), which is the role that patients and families play in their own care. And research strongly supports the theory that PFE has a direct correlation with patient safety and outcomes. Learn more about how healthcare organizations can promote stronger engagement through AHRQ’s Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Quality and Safety.3

Consider this… a patient comes to the hospital with an acute condition. They know nothing about what they’re being diagnosed with and have a huge responsibility once they leave the hospital in order to manage the condition. Healthcare organizations have a responsibility to educate patients and families in order to help them heal and to reduce readmissions, which cost over $17 billion annually just for US Medicare patients.4 If a patient and their family know what they need to do to recover from the diagnosis, or at least manage it, and a continuum of care exists for follow up care, the outcomes improve dramatically. Learn how glassboards can aid in these efforts.

Glassboards not only provide the tools needed for collaboration between clinicians and the patients and families they serve, but they also give them the options to visually explain the condition or even use graphic inserts with Float Transition to support their explanations.

Patient Safety

In healthcare, patient safety is of utmost importance. This includes providing a hygienic and safe environment when they come to see a doctor. The last thing you want is for your patients or employees to be harmed from a glassboard that falls off the wall. Clarus has spent years perfecting our paint adhesion process and are so confident in our proprietary process that we guarantee your boards will never fall off the wall. And if you had any doubts, a third-party organization confirmed that Clarus glassboards can withstand 6500 pounds of force without the adhesion failing. Also, the tempering process makes it nearly impossible to break Clarus glass. In fact, our glassboards were tested to withstand fastballs up to 100 miles per hour.

Personal privacy is also a part of patient safety. The Department of Health and Human Services, through HIPAA,b requires healthcare organizations to be cognizant of safeguarding protected health information. Because glassboards will never stain or ghost like whiteboards, other people will not be able to see protected health information from previous patients. Learn how Clarus glassboards help healthcare organizations ensure patient safety is a priority.

Patient Safety Healthcare

Bacteria Resistance

Consistent patient volume and a high occurrence of bacterial infections and viruses make infection control a major priority for healthcare organizations. According to the Centers for Disease Control, healthcare-associated infections cost over $35 billion a year.5 What a lot of people don’t realize is the non-glass whiteboards in patient rooms are actually breeding grounds for bacteria because they’re porous! Luckily, glassboards are non-porous and therefore a much cleaner option. Clarus engaged a third-party microbiologist to do a research study about the cleanliness of glassboards versus whiteboards. While whiteboards harbor bacteria, when cleaned with a simple alcohol-based solution, Clarus glassboards are clean enough to eat off of!

Cost and Quality

It is no secret that reimbursements are declining. Healthcare designers along with the supply chain and facilities departments have a big job in stretching their dollars further each year. They have the nearly impossible task of lowering costs while ensuring (and even improving) quality. Known as materiality in healthcare design, healthcare organizations are looking for high quality products that can withstand the heavy use and heavy cleaning regimen required in a healthcare setting. The materiality (aka durability) of Clarus glassboards make them a perfect option for healthcare organizations.

In our strive to exceed quality expectations, Clarus only uses the best glass for our glassboards. The manufacturing process for Starphire Glass uses the right combination of temperature and materials to provide ultra-clear glass that is nearly impossible to break and lasts a lifetime. Healthcare organizations will save hundreds upon hundreds of dollars by investing in a glassboard, especially compared to whiteboards that have to be replaced every few years. The financial and time burden to maintain and replace whiteboards actually makes the total cost of ownership (TCO) higher than glass. Read our TCO study to see how the initial investment with Clarus will give back for years after purchase.

In addition to longevity, healthcare organizations are very focused on sustainability. Between doing what’s right for the environment and not making people sicker, sustainable products just make sense for healthcare. Clarus offers complete transparency into their sustainable manufacturing practices and has obtained certifications that contribute to three different LEED credits — Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), Low Emitting Materials for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and Declare. Clarus simply cares more — providing peace of mind and a promise to responsibly steward the position of world’s largest glass visual communications manufacturer.

As you can see, Clarus glassboards are the ideal communication tool for healthcare organizations, especially in patient rooms, nurse stations, operating rooms, and other areas where patient health is the highest priority.


a HCAHPS, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems
b HIPAA, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act


1 “The HCAHPS Survey – Frequently Asked Questions.” The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

2 “Evidence-Based Hospital Design Can Reduce Stress and Improve Outcomes for Patients and Caregivers.” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dec. 4, 2009.

3 The Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Quality and Safety. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

4 Zohrabian, Kapp, and Simoes. “The Economic Case for US Hospitals to Revise their Approach to Heart Failure Readmission Reduction.”

5 “Most Common Healthcare-Associated Infections: 25 Bacteria, Viruses Causing HAIS.” Beckers Hospital Review. May 1, 2014.