The health care delivery system is changing at an unprecedented pace. The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) and its allies are working together to provide tools that help ensure health care facilities are built to be safer and more efficient. These collaborative efforts have already done a great deal to address the functional and space issues confronting health care buildings today.

The cost of the COVID-19 pandemic was high and its impacts on the delivery system remain, but the responses in care delivery were innovative beyond imagination and the lessons learned were immeasurable. It opened our minds and hearts to the reality that our world is forever changed: more episodes of infectious disease surprises are on the horizon, and the demand to downsize our hospitals and go ambulatory is here to stay. 

We need to be proactive to face the challenges of the 21st century and focus on safety, access, infection control and mass casualty. So, we turn to the concepts of form, function, economy and time, as outlined in William Peña’s book, Problem Seeking. An examination of goals, facts, concepts, needs and issues reveals a necessity for flexible spaces, ventilation and infrastructure support in our buildings. Our new design challenges are microhospitals, telehealth-enabled home care and reinvigorating older hospitals.

Our means for meeting these modern challenges lies in the exchange of ideas. The International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design & Construction, which takes place March 17-20 in San Diego, invites current and future health care leaders to share their experiences, lessons learned and innovative ideas. It is an opportunity to envision forward-thinking advancements in health care building design together. 

The collegiality, friendships and energy on display at this event are magnetic and contagious. I strongly encourage you to accept this invitation to gather among colleagues and soak in inspiration as well as share wisdom in service of our mission to build safer health care facilities. I look forward to seeing you there!