Anyone who has participated in a new health care construction project, major renovation or infrastructure overhaul understands the importance of teamwork. To truly meet an organization's needs, those involved with project planning, design and construction of a facility must work together toward common goals.

The Vista Awards celebrate this team approach to projects. Since 1993, the Vista Awards have recognized teams that work together to develop and maintain safe, high-quality health care environments; demonstrate effective and efficient communication; and rely on data-based decision-making.

It's important to note that these are not awards for health care design. Instead, the program focuses on key stakeholders who work together and overcome obstacles for the success of a project.

The awards are given in three categories:

New construction. This award is given to a team that worked to build a new facility, essentially from the ground up. New facilities may be connected to existing facilities, but the new construction must be a new space with its own identity.

Renovation. This award is given to a team that worked to alter existing conditions or added space to existing structures. The original building envelope remains essentially intact during projects considered in this category.

Infrastructure. This award is given to a team that worked to modify or replace major portions of the utility generation, distribution or control systems. To be considered for this category, projects must involve significant planning.

Previous Vista Awards winners have demonstrated the value of teamwork in overcoming obstacles to create an optimal health care environment.

The team celebrated for new construction in 2013, for example, overcame several challenges to build a new patient care tower at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Wash., including a city zoning height limit, extreme site conditions and even an electrical fire in the starter panel of a chiller (fortunately, the fire was discovered quickly and damage was limited).

The team that won the 2013 Vista Award for a renovation of the third floor of John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital in Phoenix had to meet a very tight time frame. To minimize noise for postsurgical patients on the floor above construction, the team created a plan including noise-reduction kits (radios with ear buds, ear plugs and an explanation of how the hospital was growing), hourly construction breaks, and visits from design and construction staff to answer questions and address complaints.

And the team that won the 2013 Vista Award for infrastructure focused on energy-efficiency while working on the Swedish Issaquah (Wash.) central utility plant. The team assigned a full-time energy engineer to be the "energy watchdog" for the project and teamed up with a third-party commissioning authority.

Have you worked on a project that included unique or notable team performance? Applications now are being accepted for the 2014 Vista Awards, and submissions must be received by Sept. 30. To learn more about the awards, visit

By Deanna Martin, senior communications specialist for ASHE.

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