NEW YORK, June 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The critical connection between a healthy building environment and patient health is often missed by the one group of professionals who may matter most - physicians, according to a new SmartMarket report by McGraw Hill Construction, sponsored by the American Institute of Architects and United Technologies. The survey results were announced today at the opening session of the American Institute of Architects 2014 National Convention & Design Exposition in Chicago.
The report, "The Drive Toward Healthier Buildings: The Market Drivers and Impact of Building Design on Occupant Health, Well-Being and Productivity," finds that though 18% of homeowners say that doctors are their primary source for information on healthy home products and decisions, only 53% of pediatricians, 32% of family doctors/general practitioners and 40% of psychiatrists believe that buildings even impact patient health. Only 15% report receiving any information on this connection, but the results also reveal that a key challenge is not just getting information to them but gaining their attention in ways that would alter their perspective, with nearly a quarter (22%) reporting that more information would likely not change what they do today.
The study suggests that getting more information to this group is essential to help create demand for more healthy building design and construction, given the limited understanding that physicians demonstrate of building health impacts. Physician awareness and recommendation of more fundamental healthy building design and construction practices that connect with the health risks of most concern to public health -- lack of exercise, chronic stress, poor diet and obesity -- could help create the market demand needed to drive investment, but only if physicians expand their engagement with these issues.
Today, the only issue the medical practitioners agree is a link between buildings and health is around mold and mildew, but that is only one of a plethora of factors in building decisions that could impact health.