The editors of Health Facilities Management are proud once again to bring you our annual Trends in Health Care Special Report.

Each December, we set aside our standard editorial and design format to take an in-depth look at a topic of importance to the wide variety of health facilities professionals who subscribe to our publication. Past issues have tackled everything from sustainability and efficiency to patient safety.

This year, we decided to take a closer look at innovation as it applies to planning, design and construction; environmental services and infection control; technology and engineering; and materials management and supply chain planning.

What we found was a vast array of proof-of-concept studies, beta tests, research initiatives, pilot installations and trial projects that focus on a variety of management, process and technology improvements to improve the environment of care.

While interviewing experts on design and construction, for instance, we discovered new virtual-reality tools and unique design concepts being utilized in the ever-changing health care built environment. Likewise, sources for our infection prevention article told us about a number of studies on different health care surfaces and technologies to disinfect them.

In other areas, we interviewed experts for the infrastructure piece who talked about the challenges of making technology systems talk to each other as well as research that looks into relationships between capital equipment and patient safety. Finally, when contacting sources for our materials management article, they explained the growing connection between the supply chain and clinical outcomes as well as technologies to improve accuracy and efficiency.

As you can see from these highlights, we've gathered quite a bit of information over the past couple months. In fact, one of the advantages of producing this special report is the opportunity it provides our editorial team to learn more about what's going on in the field.

We hope you enjoy this year’s Trends in Health Care issue and we look forward to serving you throughout the new year.