Last month, the International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design & Construction (PDC) attracted more than 3,000 hospital administrators, architects, interior designers, construction professionals and facilities managers to Orlando, Fla., to explore challenges facing those charged with advancing the health care built environment.

Hosted by the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects' Academy of Architecture for Health, the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA) and the Facility Guidelines Institute, the Summit's broad audience makes it the only event of its type to reflect the collaborative approach required to successfully develop and operate health care facilities.

Indeed, with a theme of “Flexibility for the Future,” this year's program was dedicated to breaking down silos to build facilities and organizations that will endure despite the uncertainties ahead. Toward that end, the Summit covered everything from anticipating far-reaching health care business trends to designing and operating innovative buildings and infrastructures to meeting compliance requirements and more.

Presentations featuring the ASHE Vista Award recipients and the ACHA's Legacy Project Award winners reinforced these lessons with real-world success stories demonstrating the benefits of collaboration and a long-term vision.

As we at Health Facilities Management attended the PDC Summit's educational sessions and walked the exhibition floor, we were struck by the dedication and enthusiasm of the attendees and panelists who were bringing their own experiences to bear on such challenges as developing a new generation of health facilities professionals and adapting or replacing aging structures and systems.

While health care continues to move in unpredictable directions, health facilities professionals will need to collaborate in ever-more novel ways to develop flexible buildings, infrastructures and organizations that meet the challenges ahead. Fortunately, learning opportunities like the PDC Summit will provide them with valuable information needed to achieve their goals.