Safer, More Efficient Trauma Room Design Wins Touchstone Award

Sara Bayramzadeh's Team's Health Care Design Concept

A substantial amount of time and effort goes into the design of health care environments. In an emergency department, you need optimal conditions to save lives. Researchers at Kent State University are being recognized for their work in creating designs that offer a top level of care.

The Center for Health and Design has awarded Sara Bayramzadeh, Ph.D., assistant professor and Elliot Professor in Health Care Design, the Touchstone Award – Gold Category for conceptual design.

According to the center, the Touchstone Award, “with its rigorous judging by accomplished and renowned industry veterans – represents the pinnacle of achievement for evidence-based design by practitioners, firms and teams.”

Bayramzadeh’s team submitted an entry for an evidence-based design project for a Level l trauma room.


Sara Bayramzadeh and Team wokrking on efficient trauma room design

“We are looking to design safer and more efficient trauma rooms,” she said.

While working on the project, Bayramzadeh adopted an evidence-based design approach, meaning design decisions were based on credible evidence to achieve the best possible outcomes. This included multiple stages of research.

Bayramzadeh worked with an interdisciplinary team, including healthcare professionals from Cleveland Clinic, faculty from Kent State University and Master of Healthcare Design students.

“It was an educational process for the whole team,” Bayramzadeh said.

Trauma rooms play a pivotal role in saving lives because accidents occur at any time and place and the space needs to be responsive to the needs of the patients.

“It’s an unpredictable environment,” Bayramzadeh said. “They need to be providing that maximum level of care and ensure they’re equipped to be able to treat patients and help them stay alive.”

Bayramzadeh and her team began working on the project in fall 2019.

When designing a trauma room, Bayramzadeh said there was a focus on four areas: workflow, interruptions/disruptions, technology integration and sensory stimulation.


Trauma Room Design

“We conducted literature reviews, case studies and design thinking sessions with clinicians,” she said.

 A full-scale mockup of the design was built with cardboard. 

“Six or seven people from Cleveland Clinic came in and role-played scenarios to get an impression of the environmental experience and evaluate the design,” Bayramzadeh said.  

In October 2021, another set of simulations were done using augmented reality. Bayramzadeh said they were able to visualize some other design alternatives before submitting the final project to the center. 

“This is a very prestigious and competitive award in the field of healthcare design,” Bayramzadeh said. “So, I'm very honored to have been selected for this.”

This project was funded under grant number R18 HS 27261-01 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The authors are solely responsible for this document’s contents, findings, and conclusions, which do not necessarily represent the views of AHRQ. Readers should not interpret any statement in this report as an official position of AHRQ or of HHS. None of the authors has any affiliation or financial involvement that conflicts with the material presented in this report.

To learn more about the Touchstone Award, visit

To learn more about the project, visit

POSTED: Monday, September 26, 2022 02:46 PM
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 28, 2024 08:13 PM
Jordan Bryski