Health care is rapidly changing in a variety of ways, and one of the major shifts we have seen in recent years is the move away from hospital settings for many types of care. We are moving beyond hospital walls to medical office buildings, to outpatient facilities, to renovated retail spaces and — in some cases, such as telemedicine — to no walls at all.

For those of us responsible for designing, building and operating safe and effective health care facilities, these shifts can present new challenges. For example, managing a single hospital or campus can be less complicated than managing an ever-growing portfolio of facilities of various types and sizes. Ensuring code compliance across all of these facilities also can be a challenge. And working with various leases and landlords can make each individual facility unique. This month’s Health Facilities Management (HFM) cover story focuses on ways to overcome these challenges and ensure that your organization’s off-site facilities are managed effectively.

Another interesting story in this issue of HFM focuses on telemedicine. Some forms of telemedicine are relatively simple, such as a Skype consultation of a patient at home with a cold. Other forms are more complicated, such as connecting a patient in a rural area to a specialist far away for an in-depth examination. To provide telemedicine services, health care organizations often need to plan appropriate spaces and equipment. The Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) has added telemedicine requirements for hospitals and outpatient facilities to the 2018 Guidelines. These requirements are aimed at helping to ensure that our virtual interactions provide patients with the same level of care, privacy and safety as our hospital buildings.

For more on these topics and other changes related to the health care physical environment, consider attending the 2018 American Society for Healthcare Engineering’s Annual Conference & Technical Exhibition. The conference, which will be July 15-18 in Seattle, will feature sessions on outpatient facilities and the 2018 FGI Guidelines. It is also an excellent opportunity to discuss these challenges with other facility professionals and to expand your professional network so that you have additional contacts to turn to when your next challenge arises.

Bradley R. Taylor, MBA, CHFM, ASHE President