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If you missed seeing me at the Healthcare Design conference in San Diego, CA, this past week, don't worry -- so did about 4,200 other people. The hard-working folks at Vendome told me it was the biggest conference ever, with more than 4,300 in attendance.

So, conservatively, I figure I connected with about 100 people. Probably more, if you count the 45 that were in the Roundtable Discussion I led with Gary Vance on Boomer Design.

We had a lively conversation about what Boomers want and how that will influence all types of building design. Ironically, most of the people who attended were over the age of 50, so we were really talking about ourselves. (More to come on this soon.)

And thanks to the eight people who showed up at 7 a.m. on Monday for my Meet Up.  It was early and I had no particular agenda -- just wanted to connect with some of my blog readers. We chatted about the conference, social media, and the challenges we're facing in our jobs.

What I Learned at Healthcare Design

Here's some of the things I learned at the educational sessions and events I attended:

  • The American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers, which is celebrating it's 10th anniversary, is changing the name of its credential from the name of the organization (AAHID) to Certified Healthcare Interior Designer (CHID).
  • There's actually very little research on the impact of cleanliness (i.e., the idea that "clean" matters) within the healthcare environment.
  • The Center for Health Design has finally figured out that very few people like to read long research reports and papers. So it's launching a new website in the spring that will have shorter, more easy to read information -- like infographics, case studies, blog posts, etc.
  • The U.S. healthcare industry is the only non-farm industry that has experienced a loss of productivity in the past 50 years.
  • 29% of the hospitals in the U.S. are critical access hospitals, which is why there is a new section on this in the 2014 Guidelines for the Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities.

I had to leave early on Tuesday, so I didn't get to the last keynote session, but the two keynotes I did see had similar messages about tapping into your passion and creativity to change things. Graffiti Artist Erik Wahl didn't have a lot of substance to his opening keynote, but he "wowed" us with his extraordinary talent and energy.

Watch a short video of his inspiring presentation.

Changemaker Keynote

Hospital CEO Avein Saaty-Tafoya shared her story the next morning in a friendly, calm keynote address. As the 2014 Changemaker Award winner, she masterfully weaved the notion of change throughout her presentation.

Read Healthcare Design Senior Editor Anne DiNardo's summary of Saaty-Tafoya's remarks.

Exhibitors at the conference told me they were pleased with attendance, and that there was a lot of positive energy. "Things are bouncing back," one told me. I saw a fair amount of new products, too.

Nemschoff's Palisade Collection took Best of Competition in the Nightingale Product Design competition at the show, but 18 other products also received accolades.

There were lots of good things about this conference, which has turned into the healthcare design industry's biggest and best. The weather even cooperated, delivering sunny 70-degree days when much of the nation was below freezing.

Can't ask for more than that, don't you think?

What did you learn at Healthcare Design 2014?

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Leave a comment

Bill C.

10 years ago

Great snapshot of the conference, excited to read on your take around the boomer roundtable. We need more input from other generations. Thanks Sara - love the blog.

Sara Marberry

10 years ago

Thanks, Bill! Stay tuned for my Boomer Roundtable report...

Marjorie Serrano

10 years ago

Thanks for the update and links! Can you share more about (or a reference for) the HC industry's loss of productivity? How is that measured and how could HC be the only industry with a loss?

Sara Marberry

10 years ago

Hi Marjorie -- One of the speakers in session E40 -- Destructive Innovation in Healthcare Capital Development said this. He didn't cite a reference.

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What's my story? I'm a healthcare and senior living design knowledge expert who writes and speaks frequently about trends and issues affecting these two industries. I'm also a strategic marketing consultant and content creator, working with companies and organizations who want to improve the quality of healthcare and senior living through the design of the physical environment. You can reach me at .

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