It's almost that time. Maybe you're in an office that seems like a ghost town as people hurry to take advantage of their earned vacation time or maybe there's a flurry of activity around you as this becomes your busiest time of year, whatever the case, are you in the mood for innovation? Well ok, not right now but maybe in 2012?

The healthcare design field is seeing some exciting things coming down the pipeline. The challenge from the client to do more for less while still maintaining a focus on patient care and staff satisfaction is no longer a concept that leaves you scratching your head in consternation, it’s become your norm. Other trends in the industry are revealing that there are limitless possibilities even within an environment that can’t afford too much risk.

In the September issue of HEALTHCARE DESIGN, Sara O. Marberry , EDAC, executive vice president and COO, The Center for Health Design, wrote, “When does the ‘ah-ha moment’ occur, when you get a feeling of excitement or breakthrough during the process of working on a  healthcare building project? The point at which a shift in thinking happens that takes things in a new direction, brings the team together, or stimulates new ideas?”

But once the idea has been created and has progressed to a discussion of how it might work, that's when innovation  steps in to put  the idea into action with complete follow through. Taking that idea to the next level should not be pushed to the next day nor should it be tabled to gather dust on a shelf. 

As the year draws to a close, there’s no denying that the word is out for innovative healthcare design. The drivers of innovation are many but the focus remains the same. What are some of the innovations or trends that made a difference in your work in 2011?