Welcome to Health Facilities Management's annual industry trends report, in which we take an in-depth look at the major issues facing our readers and determine where they may lead in the coming year.

While we didn't plan this edition to follow an overall theme of health care reform, it became fairly obvious that all the topics we'd chosen had been affected by the debate raging over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and each area was changing because of the Act's passage.

So, emulating our readers, we adapted to these new realities and followed the ramifications of health care reform as they filtered down from the hospital executive to the operational areas, where we focus most of our attention.

In some of these areas, like supply chain management, we found that reform is a driver of new developments and practices. In others, like construction and infection control, we learned that reform is giving a strong push to advances and innovations that are still in their infancies. And in yet other areas, like sustainability, we found that reform is providing greater justification for strategies that already are proving positive for a hospital's bottom line.

Moreover, we've also learned that, while attempts to repeal or alter the Act may cause some of its elements to be revised or eliminated, the changes underway are so fundamental to a hospital's operations that they are unlikely to be reversed once they have begun.

So, turn to page 12 to find out how these and other operational areas are changing to help health care organizations become more transparent and accountable, while providing the highest quality patient care at the best possible cost.