Joining Bon Secours Mercy Health (BSMH) in Cincinnati in September 2019, Jonathan Hunley was brought on board to oversee $500 million in infrastructure improvements planned over the next five years for the organization, which encompasses 35 hospitals and more than 15 million square feet. Some of that work includes new and expanded central utility plants to accommodate peak demands and implementing a strategic partnership to address the entirety of the roofing portfolio for all of BSMH’s acute hospital campuses, through a master maintenance and replacement program with a national building envelope vendor.

In his role, Hunley represents BSMH in relationships with department heads, architecture and engineering firms, contractors, and consultants for all infrastructure projects, as well as providing oversight for projects from inception all the way through to completion. His priorities include evaluating and assessing infrastructure needs for each facility and prioritizing projects based on a set criteria that revolve around regulatory compliance, energy efficiency improvements, and patient experience. As a member of the BSMH Sustainability Council and Patient Safety and Accreditation Councils, Hunley aligns his work with the strategic goals of the organization to implement new policies that effect network-wide change, including infection control and interim life safety measures, and sustainability programs.

On top of that, within a few months on the job, his focus shifted to include helping 35 facilities prepare for surges in COVID-19 cases and ensure occupant health and safety. For example, he developed a set of internal guidelines for facility manager teams to use for temporary surge set-up by utilizing recommendations from ASHE and ASHRAE. He’s also making an impact on a national and international level, volunteering on a working committee for the World Health Organization to develop COVID-19 hospitals for developing countries; as a member of the National Fire Protection Agency electrical committee to inform national building codes for emergency power systems; and on ASHRAE’s National Healthcare Technical Committee, where he provides insight and review of ASHRAE 170, which will set the American National Standard for future healthcare facilities.

As his HCD 10 nomination states, Hunley is “never satisfied with the status quo—always looking for strategic opportunities to improve the practice of healthcare facility management and infrastructure planning.”

What do you love most about your job?

I love the flexibility and control I’m given to build the infrastructure program here at BSMH. I’ve been entrusted to develop and maintain this program and given all the resources I would ever need to do so. I’ve been able to take a career’s worth of knowledge and create something from scratch. It’s been very rewarding to watch it succeed.

What industry challenge do you hope to solve?

The lack of resiliency preparedness needed within our facilities as it relates to different disasters/events that impact them. These events show themselves in many ways, and the industry is severely lacking to face them head on. This also has a steep financial commitment that comes with it, and we have many people who need to better understand where to wisely invest within our facilities and where not to.

What did you learn over the past year?

By working remotely full time, we’ve learned how to leverage technology to work productively and reduce our travel to markets versus life before the pandemic.

What’s the next major trend you anticipate for healthcare design?

I feel like two are on the verge of breaking loose. The first is SMART Technology and Internet of Things (IoT). I think you’re going to see health systems start to migrate over to these types of systems to automate more functions within the hospital. SMART Technology has shown positive impact to both patient and employee experience as well as success in mitigating patient safety issues such as patient falls. The other trend is the use of prefabrication/modular construction. I know this isn’t necessarily a new trend; however, I believe it’s use is going to increase in construction to help address issues with available manpower.