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How SSM Health is Leading the Way to Wellness with WELL Certified Buildings

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Facilities are valuable tools that aid in recruiting and retaining talent. Employers are increasingly recognizing that workplace settings make an impact on health, morale, productivity and effectiveness. For healthcare organizations, the workplace setting is taking a greater priority. Healthcare workers have very demanding jobs that often put them in harm’s way. When looking for ways to create a better workspace and in turn improve their patient experience, our client SSM Health engaged us to deliver their WELL vision to the built environment. Utilizing the WELL building standard was a key component to inform design decisions for making a better workplace.   

SSM Health wanted to know, “What can we do to create a better and healthier facility?” WELL Building Standard or WELL is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. There are varying certification levels as well as benefits. WELL certified projects create better workspaces with an emphasis on the well-being of the facility occupants. Medical professionals hold an important role in our communities and WELL is optimized to advance their health and well-being through the built environment. As a place of healing, healthcare environments are appropriately modeled to promote healthy lifestyles and employee well-being.

Introducing WELL to our project involved a short series of meetings to identify possible credits and quantify costs. We provided opportunities to integrate WELL features in the design and monitor certification. Several credits require commissioning and post occupancy testing of the building to achieve certification. With features impacting mental health support, nutrition and even corporate policies, WELL integration may require significant modifications depending on the client, but the positive outcomes on building users often offset challenges.

There are 10 concepts in WELL v2 certification – Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community – that are comprised of design features with distinct health intents. These features are either preconditions or optimizations and are unique to each project. Creating a healthy environment for SSM Health based on WELL included: 

As a healthcare provider, it is great to see that SSM Health is taking an innovative mindset to well-being and setting an example for the industry with WELL certified buildings. For healthcare spaces, the benefits of WELL are shared by staff and patients. Promoting healthy lifestyles through the built environment aligns with the mission of SSM Health and it has been great to be involved in these discussions. Looking to learn more about pursing WELL with your healthcare facility? I’d be happy to start the conversation, and we also have two WELL accredited members on our team I can connect you with.

Senior Design Architect

John is a Senior Design Architect in the Madison office working in the Healthcare studio at EUA. John finds enjoyment in creating healing environments that leave a lasting and positive impact for occupants in the space.