Given the uncertainty facing health care organizations, it's probably not surprising that last month's International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design & Construction (PDC) in Tampa, Fla., featured several well-known industry experts who presented a broad vision of health care's future.
While these health care authorities delivered a captivating, high-level perspective, however, other sessions at the American Society for Healthcare Engineering-sponsored PDC event presented an equally interesting look at how these megatrends would filter down to affect the day-to-day concerns of health facility professionals.
During the American College of Healthcare Architects' Master Series of seminars, for instance, hospital officials predicted a greater variety of facilities coming on board, with ambulatory centers, clinics, retail outlets and even home care being thrown into the hospital's traditional mix. In other sessions, energy management and patient safety were explored as key considerations in these new built environments. And, of course, the expanding role of information and medical technology on the planning, design and construction process was never far from discussion.
Moreover, these trends sometimes came together in unexpected ways, such as when one presenter talked about design features that could help enforce adherence to hand-washing requirements, or when one trade show participant discussed integrating an operating room air-handling system with an electronic surgery schedule to improve energy performance.
The health care industry is changing at a pace faster than many previously thought possible. Last month's PDC conference gave a fascinating look at where all this change is leading.