Optimizing the health care physical environment is a core ideology of the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) and is embedded in its culture. It could be argued that innovation is synonymous with optimization. The exciting rebrand of the ASHE Annual Conference & Technical Exhibition as the Health Care Facilities Innovation Conference emphasizes this point and looks to build on the tremendous progress already made. It is a great example of how ASHE continuously seeks to help members improve the health care environment.

As I have mentioned in previous columns, I enjoy meeting with members outside of formal education sessions. There is so much to learn from each other’s successes, and maybe from things that did not go well too. In a profession that is risk averse, it can sometimes be counter to our training and experience to innovate. There is too much on the line for things to go wrong. However, taking calculated risks can yield improvements that add value, gain efficiencies or mitigate administrative burdens. Hearing from peers can help avoid pitfalls.

This month’s issue focuses on the winner of the 2023 Excellence in Health Care Facilities Management Award. As you read about these innovative and dedicated professionals, I encourage you to reflect on your own departments and take pride in your successes. Optimization does not have a finish line, so it is important to celebrate goals when you achieve them. Communicating with your teams to establish a vision, along with welcoming their input to directly influence positive outcomes, is key. Clearly, this year’s winner understands the importance of having a common direction and sharing in their success.

Ultimately, it is in our best interest to advance our cause and stay the course for continuous improvement. Whether it is establishing feasible energy targets, improving workforce competency or increasing equipment uptime, we have the ability to influence our own future. By doing this, we also can reduce the need for legislation or regulatory burden that simply adds cost without verifiable positive outcomes. What health care organization wouldn’t see the value in that?