It is Day 2 of the American Society for Health Care Engineering’s (ASHE) virtual conference. The 2020 ASHE Annual Virtual Conference was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has put a halt on large in-person gatherings. The three-day online experience is replete with opportunities for networking, education and earning continuing education credits, meeting new vendors and finding solutions for facilities operations.

Day 1 kicked off with three concurrent sessions, including an hour-long session on achieving operational efficiency. The Race to 100: Achieving Operational Efficiency session was led by Caleb Haynes, vice president of business development at Bernhard TME; Jacob McCall, director of engineering services, Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital; Todd Harvey, director of engineering services, Memorial Hermann Hospital Cypress; and Caleb Brantley, vice president of southwest operations at Bernhard TME.

The group shared how the two Texas-based Memorial Hermann hospitals achieved Energy Star scores of 100 through various operational efficiency strategies, such as continuous commissioning, building analytics and sustainable maintenance. A key takeaway emphasized by the speakers is that the real challenge when it comes to improving Energy Star scores is not in getting to 100, but in staying there. The speakers advised building a culture of continuous improvement that fosters collaboration and a sense of friendly competition.

The concurrent sessions were followed by the day’s first general session. The session began with an awards presentation honoring various members and facilities. Wayne Klingelsmith, FASHE, CHFM, received the Crystal Eagle Leadership Award and John F. DiGirolomo, MBA, CHFM, CHC, FASHE, received the 2020 President’s Award.

Following the awards and speeches, speaker Jon Dorenbos delivered the keynote session. The former NFL player and "America’s Got Talent" finalist combined comedy, magic tricks and personal life experiences to help inspire attendees to live beyond their circumstances and let vision guide their day-to-day decisions.

The second general session of the day was led by Mark Pelletier, COO, accreditation and certification operations, The Joint Commission. Pelletier covered the accrediting organization’s approach to improving health care operations and its goal to achieve zero patient harm. He addressed five key safety issues of which health care facilities managers should be aware.

  • Ongoing maintenance of the physical environment.
  • Be ready for potential natural and man-made disasters.
  • Reduce health care-associated infections.
  • Help reduce inpatient ligature risk.
  • Ensure care is delivered safely in all settings.

Day 2 of the conference officially began at 8 a.m. with the opening of the exhibit hall, where attendees can learn about new products and solutions. The general session kicks off 9 a.m. with a discussion on pandemic recovery.