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Do happier hospitals make you healthier?

I have yet to have a mammogram, and probably won’t, but I did get to see the fancy new mammography suite at St. Rose Hospital this week.

It’s the sort of place that writer Virginia Postrel says there should be more of in her recent article, The Art of Healing, in The Atlantic Monthly:

Consider diagnostic imaging departments. MRIs and CT scans can frighten many patients, and research shows that simple elements such as nature photos can ease their stress. Yet the typical scanner room still looks “as if it’s a workshop for cars,” says Malkin, with bare walls and big machines. One of the bleakest rooms at the UCLA Medical Plaza, where I spend my time, is a waiting room in the imaging center. Small and beige, it epitomizes aesthetic neglect, with stained chairs, mismatched tiles, and tattered copies of U.S. News & World Report. The only wall art is a drug-company poster on myocardial perfusion imaging—just the thing to comfort anxious patients.