2015 Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo a Success

CHICAGO — Members of the health care facilities construction, planning, operations and maintenance communities gathered at Navy Pier earlier this month for the 2015 Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo. Since 1987, the event has served as a space for sharing ideas and researching related to the design and physical environment of health care facilities, and for learning about how environment can positively affect healing and promote wellbeing.

Founded by Wayne Ruga, the Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo aims to create a multi-disciplinary environment that inspires the advancement of a better delivery of healthcare through the physical space. Competitors, clients, and colleagues come together as friends to collaborate, share research, hear fresh perspectives and participate in the ever-changing healthcare facility conversation.

Sessions focused on everything from innovative interior design — for example, modeling an infusion center on a first class airplane pod — to helping health care facilities build their brands. Design was a key focus throughout the event, with additional sessions on using architecture to optimize human resources, improve overseas facilities, learn interdisciplinary lessons, deliver enhanced psychiatric spaces and transform empty and abandoned buildings into modern ambulatory care centers. Additional sessions focused on trends such as human-centered design, strategic project phasing, the use of hybrid operating rooms and integrating retail into the patient experience.

Generative space was another primary focus of the event. The design methodology emphasizes creating supportive communities that allow individuals to flourish, providing things like shelter, food, employment, health and medical services, transportation, community engagement and support. This year’s Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo Pre-Conference Workshop featured an innovative Chicago-area facility that embodies the idea of generative space, the Center on Halsted and the Town Hall Apartments. The event included a panel discussion on the project with the design team members as well as a tour of the innovative facility.

Several other standout projects were also highlighted during the Symposium Distinction Awards, a design awards ceremony which honored user-centered, adaptive reuse, team and individual projects, as well as innovative and sustainable products. The Generative Space awards went to Edmonton, Canada-headquartered Stantec for its Bridgepoint project, San Francisco-headquartered Gensler for the Town Hall Apartments and Jessica Gutierrez-Rodriguez with the Texas Center for Infectious Disease in San Antonio received the Founder’s Award.

The three-day event, held Oct. 6-8 at Chicago’s Navy Pier, also featured an expo where companies like AcornVac, Assa Abloy, Cree Inc., HDR, Norix Furniture and Samsung Surfaces showcased their latest health care offerings and innovations. Additional symposium events included a learning lounge, technology pavilion, keynote addresses and multiple networking opportunities.

The 2016 event will take place in Orlando, Fla., Sept. 19-21.