As I hope our readers know, this is the month (specifically November 2-6 in Dallas) of the annual HEALTHCARE DESIGN Conference. In nearly 38 years as a healthcare editor, I have attended more conferences than I care to remember. Certainly there are stretches of hours and days at these conferences I wish I could have back, so arid and lifeless were they. That’s why, all self-interest aside, I was so impressed with our HEALTHCARE DESIGN conference when it debuted four years ago. It was such an “up” experience, with people enjoying fresh, new information and sharing it in lively, informal networking sessions throughout the venue. I have noticed no diminution of this feeling in the years since.

Nevertheless, each and every year poses a challenge for the attendee: choosing among simultaneous presentations to maximize the balance of live attendance versus picking up handouts and/or viewing the conference CD. It’s a purely personal decision, based on individual judgment regarding content freshness and/or presenter attractiveness. Such choices imply no discounting of the quality or attractiveness of “competing” presentations.

Just for fun, I’ll let you in on my own decision making to this point.

Facility Tours: There’s no question, I have to visit the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth site. “Brain health” was a term I hadn’t heard until earlier this year when, on a sister publication called Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Management, we began to cover the subject in some depth as it pertained to preventing and managing Alzheimer’s disease. In short, it’s a “hot topic.”

Monday, November 5, 9:00-10:00 a.m.: A choice of “Evidence-Based Design of a Patient Care Room for the U.K.,” featuring as co-presenter the world-renowned guru of evidence-based design Roger S. Ulrich of Texas A&M University, or “Laboratory Planning and Design,” an important topic that we haven’t addressed often enough in this magazine.

Monday, November 5, 10:15-11:30 a.m.: “Planning a New Karolinska University Hospital,” venturing into the intriguing new realm of international hospital projects, or the “Green Healthcare and Common Sense” discussion group, addressing another hot topic of the moment, the cost-effectiveness of sustainable design. And it features the always interesting Turner Healthcare perspective.

Monday, November 5, 2:00-3:15 p.m.: “The Hospital’s Doctor Concept: Incorporating Simulation Modeling into Strategic Planning” looks interesting, especially since it addresses the burgeoning new field of information technology applied to design. Yet, there’s that fascinating—and highly contemporary—look at “Restoring Healthcare in Iraq: The New Basrah Children’s Hospital.” Could be informative and dramatic. Then, there’s also Jain Malkin discoursing on “Taking the Pain Out Of Evidence-Based Design.” She always has something provocative to say….

You can see how this is shaping up. Once again I’m confronted with choices and the nervousness that I just might be missing something good. Same feeling I had 38 years ago at my very first conference, an American Medical Association convention, which I covered as a hard-working, healthcare journalism rookie. Some things never change. HD


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