In recent years, scholars and health care practitioners have become interested in the role of the larger health care environment in which provider–patient interaction and patient-to-patient interaction takes place. In particular, researchers have an interest in the influence the larger health care environment may have on patient satisfaction, compliance with treatment suggestions, and other outcomes.

Traditionally, the emphasis on designing health care settings was on the functional delivery of health care. However, the design and construction of health care environments has gradually shifted toward more holistic “healing environments.” Hospitals, clinics, and other health care organizations have developed specialty comprehensive care units or centers in recent years in an attempt to create an environment that is more comfortable or soothing to patients. For example, many maternity units, ...

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