As 2011 comes to a close, I have tried in vain to come up with a solid way of summarizing the year in terms of the healthcare design and construction industry. Especially as I look back at what I was saying at this time last year, I see an awful lot of similarities.

     To quote from my December 2010 Editorial from HEALTHCARE DESIGN magazine:

     Marked by healthcare reform dramatics, a still-sluggish economy, and general confusion, 2010 might have seemed to many in the field as a 12-month exercise in running-in-place—waiting for reform to come into focus, waiting for banks to start lending again, waiting for projects to come online again.

     Swap out the year, and those same points could be applied to 2011. While there has been a mild thaw over the course of the last year as far as finances and new construction go, things are still somewhat in a state of suspension, everyone waiting for the other shoe to drop. Is there a resolution in sight? Well, the Supreme Court is now involved, so you tell me.

     Despite all of this, there are, of course, reasons to be optimistic. A few major building projects (Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, and Palomar Medical Center West in Southern California, just to name a few) look to come online in the next few months after long gestation periods, and this whole healthcare reform thing will (hopefully) shake out one way of the other before election time, so perhaps that cautious optimism I felt at this time last year can be transferred over to 2012, as well.

Watch this space at this time next year--and throughout 2012--to see how it all turned out!