Technology has become so pervasive in our lives that it’s tough to imagine what it would be like to get through a day without, say, a cellphone — let alone a cellphone that provides instant Internet access and functions as a computer. Yet, just about all of our readers can remember those pre-smartphone days. And the truth is, we were all worse off for it in those earlier times when it comes to efficiency and optimizing productivity. (For now, I’ll ignore all the time-sapping distractions that smartphones also offer. I’m looking at you, Facebook.)

Today, technology is evolving so quickly and at times can be so costly that those involved in the design, construction and operation of hospitals are having something less than a universal or shared experience with advancing in this age of automation.

For instance, some are reaping major efficiency gains and cost-reductions by expanding and optimizing their use of building information modeling. Others are using the Health Care Institute’s Benchmarking 3.0: Performance Criteria for Health Care Facilities Managers to better understand and benchmark their energy usage patterns at a micro level. And still others are using supply chain data standards to improve logistics and shorten the time it takes to get FDA-recalled medical products off the shelf in emergency situations. Meanwhile, technology is rapidly reshaping the ways in which patient care areas are cleaned and disinfected.

With all of this as a backdrop, we’ve devoted this year’s Trends in Health Care report to assessing where our readers are in their technology curve and, more importantly, what results they’re seeing from their investments.

Regardless of where your team is in its journey, exploring what’s possible will help you to define your vision for the future as you continue to develop safer, more cost-effective facilities for our nation’s hospitals.

Bob Kehoe, associate publisher of HFM