Health facilities professionals carry a wide range of responsibilities covering numerous facets of hospital, clinic and medical office design, construction and operations. In fact, their duties are so broad that their patient safety roles often are overlooked.

That’s why we dedicated this year’s Trends in Health Care special issue to exploring this important function as it relates to design and construction processes, environmental services and infection control tasks, technology and engineering infrastructure planning, and materials management functions.

The entire issue reflects that the patient safety duties of health facilities professionals are easily as demanding and expansive as their numerous other responsibilities, going far beyond stringent regulatory precautions to ensure a safe environment of care.

In our design and construction article, for instance, we look at safe interior elements being used by architects in patient rooms as well as how professionals are maintaining infection control during the construction process. Our environmental services story recounts how a bundled approach is being used for infection prevention and also looks at some of the most promising disinfection tools.

Similarly, our article on infrastructure systems covers several key patient monitoring technologies as well as security devices and mechanical-electrical-plumbing safeguards being used to ensure patient welfare. Lastly, our materials management feature looks at how patient safety is being addressed in the hospital supply chain.

To help readers learn more about these efforts, the Web versions of these articles at also provide links to research and other resources used by the authors in their reporting.

Even a cursory glance at these articles shows that patient safety is every bit as important a part of the health facilities professional’s job as it is for hospital clinical or administrative officials, and they are bringing as much innovation and diligence to the task as they would to any of their other important duties.

Turn to Page 18 to learn more about the often-overlooked but crucial role health facilities professionals play in ensuring a safe environment of care in hospitals, clinics and medical offices.