More than 3,000 leaders in health care planning, design and construction came to sunny Phoenix early last month for ASHE's 2012 International Summit on Health Facility Planning, Design and Construction (PDC Summit).

Attendees heard inspiring accounts of how teamwork is critical to creating the health care built environment — including examples of outstanding teamwork from the 2012 winners of the Vista Awards. Teamwork also played a critical role in the moving story of how St. John's Mercy Hospital in Joplin, Mo., is rebuilding after taking a direct hit from a deadly tornado last year.

A video about the rebuilding effort was shown at the PDC Summit, giving attendees a sense of the immense destruction caused by the storm and the community spirit driving the rebuilding. Hospital leaders told the audience about their efforts to take care of staff and the community during and after the disaster, and received a standing ovation from the crowd after sharing their emotional story.

Teamwork played into the message delivered by Ian Morrison, PDC Summit moderator and futurist, who urged health care owners, clinicians, planners, designers, constructors and regulators to work together to advance the industry. By working together, he says, hospitals can successfully navigate the shift from a volume-based health care system to one based on value.

Teamwork also can help eliminate what Morrison calls "regulatory clutter" that cost hospitals billions of dollars without improving safety. "That is easy money," Morrison says. For instance, ASHE has been pushing for codes that do not conflict, are backed by science and that do not overburden hospitals without improving safety. One session at the PDC Summit outlined this effort, while several other sessions focused on upcoming changes to important codes and standards, such as the National Fire Protection Association's NFPA 99 and NFPA 101 as well as the Facilities Guidelines Institute's Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities.

A session that featured results from an American Hospital Association report — "Hospitals and Care Systems of the Future" — highlighted steps that hospital teams need to take now to be successful in the future. A session featuring C-suite leaders from area hospitals also stressed the financial challenges that health facilities face during this challenging, changing environment.

PDC Summit keynote speaker T.R. Reid, author of The Healing of America, discussed health care systems around the world and how the United States compares with other countries. Reid says that unless the United States makes a commitment to universal health care, people who can afford it will have top-of-the-line medical coverage while nearly 50 million others are left behind. "That's what happens when a country fails to make that a moral issue," he adds.

This year's PDC Summit also featured tours of local hospitals and the Gallery of Architecture for Health as well as live online streaming of key sessions and conversations with top speakers.

This month's column was written by Deanna Martin, senior communications specialist for ASHE.




Codes input needed

ASHE is looking for input from health facility professionals who deal with codes and standards. Has your facility faced conflicting or inappropriately interpreted codes and standards? Tell ASHE your story by using the revamped advocacy section of the ASHE website at ASHE is gathering this information as it works toward the goal of a set of unified codes that do not conflict, are created using the best science available and that provide optimal safety without overburdening hospitals. To get involved with ASHE's advocacy efforts, contact ASHE Director of Codes and Standards Chad Beebe at

New commissioning handbook

ASHE is introducing a new handbook that provides step-by-step instructions to perform health facility commissioning. The new Health Facility Commissioning Handbook accompanies the previously published Health Facility Commissioning Guidelines, which are the only set of commissioning guidelines specifically geared toward health care facilities. The new handbook shows hospitals how to get the most for their money during construction or renovation projects and how to gain performance long-term. For information on purchasing the handbook or guidelines, go to