Arts in Medicine Literature Review

Gay Hanna, Judy Rollins, and Lorie Lewis

A growing body of research is bringing attention to how the arts — including literature, performing and visual arts, as well as architecture and design — can greatly enhance the healthcare experience. Arts in medicine contributes to improved healthcare outcomes, better patient and staff satisfaction, and lower healthcare costs.

Established as a field in the 1990s, arts in medicine programming in clinical settings usually developed as part of university healthcare systems in partnership with community based artists and arts organizations. Surveys conducted in 2003 and 2007 by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations — now called The Joint Commission — found the arts were being used in a wide range of services in over 50% of US hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

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