Henderson’s Healthcare Insights from 2023 Spring Conference Season | Henderson Engineers Henderson’s Healthcare Insights from 2023 Spring Conference Season | Henderson Engineers

Henderson’s Healthcare Insights from 2023 Spring Conference Season

The 2023 conference and tradeshow season is well underway and Henderson’s health sector team has been on the road connecting with industry leaders on emerging trends in healthcare design. Representatives of Team Henderson attended BOMA International’s Medical Office Buildings + Healthcare Real Estate Conference, ASHE’s International Summit and Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design and Construction, and the Texas Association of Healthcare Facilities Management Conference returning with the following takeaways:

BOMA International Medical Office Buildings + Healthcare Real Estate Conference (BOMA)

Featuring a record high attendance, the 2023 edition of BOMA provided attendees with three days of networking and discussion. Sessions focused on healthcare real estate trends, operations, financing, and attempting to predict what the market’s impact will be on the sector. There is optimism that healthcare real estate will continue its current, steady trajectory. The MOB space is of particular interest to both developers and health systems. Experts at the conference all agreed that the partnership between health systems, developers, and private healthcare entities will drive the market forward and meet the growing demand for outpatient services.

Larry Van Horn of Vanderbilt University kicked off the event with a keynote session on the connection between health insurance, real estate, physicians, and their impact on patient consumer behavior. His premise was that the hidden cost of healthcare causes the patient to not shop for healthcare and therefore consumer behavior is driven by factors like convenience, doctor relationships, and proximity rather than cost.

The second keynote was presented by Alice Zhang, CEO and Co-Founder of Verge Genomics. She discussed the profound impact that AI has had on the drug discovery phase. Using AI, her company has been able to significantly reduce the time span of the traditional trial and error approach to drug discovery. She hopes this will allow the pharmaceutical industry to provide prescription drugs faster and at a lower cost.

Access and approval to secure and spend capital is at the center of health real estate. With interest rates rising and financial groups/departments becoming increasingly risk averse, healthcare systems and developers are in a place where they need to demonstrate a “sure thing” business plan to move forward, which is a requirement that is extremely difficult to satisfy in the current climate. These groups are focusing on physician talent requisition/retention, as well as optimizing their current real estate portfolio and space utilization. However, as time ticks on for systems and developers, this is creating an opening for industry disruptors who have access to capital and can function more nimbly to establish a quick presence, engage patient consumers, and reshape the healthcare industry.

ASHE’s International Summit and Exhibition of Health Facility Planning (PDC)

The PDC summit gathers thousands from all disciplines of healthcare planning, design, and construction to advance safe and trusted healthcare. The 2023 event focused heavily on sustainability and decarbonization in the healthcare industry. Presentations ranged from covering what scope one, two, and three emissions are to real-world examples of how healthcare facilities can move towards net zero or even a zero-energy building (ZEB).

In the meantime, the healthcare industry can look to other industries and companies for best practices. In her keynote presentation, sustainability and ESG advisor Chrissa Pagitsas walked attendees through her path (tinker, persevere and scale) to create big, hairy, ambitious goals (BHAG) related to environmental, social, governance (ESG) for healthcare facilities.

While there are challenges impacting the macro level of healthcare, we still need to be focused on the micro level through regulatory and code compliance. There were sessions dedicated to upcoming code changes that impact design and construction as well as existing facilities. The industry continues to work towards being more flexible and accounting for technology that may not exist when the codes and standards are adopted.

Supply chain, inflation, and political climate remain large issues that are impacting healthcare. Through this, there is a continued need to focus on innovation. Nicholas Webb (healthcare futurist and innovator) highlighted several key initiatives:

  • Hyper-consumerism: Work towards creating better designed spaces.
  • Enterprise innovation: Build a client experience strategy that looks at the future.
  • Human experience: Focus on client (patient) and staff experience and finding the right balance.


Texas Association of Healthcare Facilities Management Conference (TAHFM)

TAHFM 2023 highlighted the importance of engagement and retention of employees, regulatory readiness, and sustainable and regenerative design practices in healthcare. The events keynote sessions placed a heavy emphasis on leadership including the engagement and retention of key employees. This also included how each of the generations of the current work force communicate, how they were taught to lead, and how that has impacted the newer generations.

Several sessions focused on regulatory readiness including a focus on life safety with the newer “see it, cite it” approach. Also discussed was how to engage project planning, design, and construction teams to support the project’s life safety goals early and often such that the project can be successful when it is turned over to the owner. Additionally, there was extensive discussion on fire door and fire stopping compliance.

A continued focus on energy use, sustainability, and decarbonization included a review of all the hospitals that benchmarked their energy use with Energy Star in the state of Texas. Highlights were provided by many of the facilities to update the conference on what real world examples are being completed and the impact they are having.

Another common theme was the importance of having a plan. Emergencies come up but if you have a plan that has been discussed prior to an emergency, you can save time, money, and, in some cases, lives. The plan will not always go as planned, but it gives you the foundation needed to know what the steps are and how you would move through any emergency.

Henderson Knows Health

We’ve been designing healthcare projects for 25+ years and understand that each facility, campus, and project requires a unique approach. With that great responsibility comes the need to design solutions for patient safety, complex equipment, facility infrastructure, and resident comfort. The Health Sector is growing and changing quickly. Our experts are on the frontlines helping healthcare providers navigate innovative technology, complicated code requirements, and the emergence of neighborhood medtail clinics – all while taking patient care and safety as seriously as our clients do.

Written By

Health Sector Executive | Client Relationship Director

Written By

Mechanical Engineer

Written By

Health Sector Design & Construction Director

Written By

Business Sector Executive


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