The March 2023 ASHE PDC Summit in Phoenix Arizona did not disappoint. A lively mix of baseball spring training, the world baseball championship, and several thousand healthcare professionals descending on downtown Phoenix provided a level of energy to the area that was exciting to see. At the conference, I was lucky enough to present with Jeff O’Neill from RWJBarnabas Health and Teresa Harris from isgenuity a presentation titled “Herding Cats: Implementation & Management of Functional Programs & Safety Risk Assessments” in which we facilitated a lively morning conversation on critical requirements of the FGI guidelines and who is responsible for completing them for each project. I learned a lot from the conversation, and if you have any questions on these two areas of the guidelines, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help!
There were great talks and keynotes throughout the conference. These are my top hot topics from this year’s conference:
- BIG DATA is coming! Investing in sensors and data collection for augmented reality, personal device customization, and improved clinical predictive medicine.
- Healthcare transitions to retail experience. Healthcare organizations need to shift their thinking from “patients” to “customers” and design for that experience.
- Lots of doom and gloom on the financial side of things with a variety of examples of the financial toll COVID-19 has had on hospitals and their employees.
- Telehealth reimbursement has been extended for two additional years; an inkling that this delivery of care model is here to stay in terms of reimbursement. It will be interesting to see if this sparks any new investments in projects related to expanding the implementation of virtual visits.
Of these hot topics, I see a hospital’s ability to invest in data collection across a wide spectrum of disciplines, from building management and infrastructure to patient clinical information to real time location services for staff patients and equipment, a key area of investment over the next 3 years. A great idea from “Hey Alexa, How Can Hospitals Use Intelligent Lighting?” by Todd Hermann from Smith Seckman Reid and Abigail Lipperman from Children’s Health was purchasing Wi-Fi sensors that are integrated into light fixtures. This simple concept allows a hospital to expand their sensor coverage via a hardwired system when areas are renovated, or lighting upgrades are made. The sensors are often open-source code, allowing them to integrate with bio med for medical equipment tracking and personal devices for patients and staff wayfinding and navigating the hospital as well as wellness prompts, for instance, to take the stairs vs. the elevator.
So, that was what was discussed on stage, but what was everyone talking about at the bar? The electrification of the hospital to reduce carbon emissions was a key goal being discussed. The question I kept hearing was: Why take a critical care facility and place it at the bleeding edge of this transition with the current state of the broader electrical grid? A diversity of systems and fuel sources seems like a more resilient answer to the overall risk assessment for the critical care hospital. Hospitals should be focused on proven sustainable solutions to help their energy reduction, but a move to full electrification, even with the benefits of the microgrid, seems to be putting all the eggs into an infrastructure basket that has capacity issues. Failure could place peoples’ lives at risk. This question really resonated with me, and it is often how I assess new products to the marketplace. Cool and shiny work well in a lot of commercial real estate projects, but when I am specifying products and designing for healthcare, I lean towards tried-and-true solutions that will hold up to the heavy use of environments of care.