Health care design and construction projects are complex initiatives that often require millions of dollars and several years to complete. These huge undertakings require the utmost in teamwork to pull off successfully.

The American Hospital Association’s American Society for Health Care Engineering presented Vista Awards to three health care organizations this year for exceptional teamwork on new health care construction, renovation and infrastructure projects.

The winning projects include Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla, Calif., for building a new 10-story patient tower; UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, Mass., for renovating several outdated buildings; and Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, Pa., for constructing a new energy plant.

In commenting on the winning projects, Vice Chair of the Vista Awards task force Randy Regier, AIA, Taylor Design, Irvine, Calif., says UC San Diego Health’s transformative concept made it a winning entry. “I was taken by their transformation idea, which involved transforming people, processes and places to complete their objectives,” he says. Team members had to fit into the project’s culture or be moved to a more structured role. Processes involved creating an environment for taking risks while knowing that team members had their back. In designing spaces, innovation occurred around how to address patient isolation through research with a former patient. Ultimately, a full-floor isolation area was created.

What impressed Regier most about UMass Memorial Health Care’s submission was how the team established key goals and then implemented Lean methodologies to stay true to their objectives from design through construction. “It was obvious that the team was very well organized and process oriented in their problem solving and communication,” he says. “They were able to improve their operational processes, create a design to support it and then leverage their team to work together to streamline their construction processes to the end.”

Regarding the Lancaster General Hospital project, Regier points out that infrastructure projects are the most complex projects and can have the biggest impact on operations. “It was impressive to see how this team started the project by setting goals around the completion date, innovation, energy efficiency, and planned disruptions and executed the construction over an existing operating central plant,” he says. “It was apparent from the submittal that the team was ahead of challenges or had a team strategy to solve challenges they encountered during the project’s course to handle issues such as temporary equipment and rerouting systems to avoid conflicts.”