This month's Showcase feature (found on page 44) presented a rare opportunity for me. In mid-December 2009, Online Editor Chris Gaerig and I ventured out to nearby Concord Township, Ohio, to tour this issue's spotlight facility, TriPoint Medical Center, in person. While this may seem like an odd thing to hear from the Editor-in-Chief of a magazine that is, in fact, all about healthcare buildings, the rigors of a monthly publishing schedule (among other factors) prevent me from seeing more than a handful of facilities during any given year. So when the opportunity presented itself for us to visit a Showcase-worthy new facility located less than a 30-minute drive from our Cleveland office, we jumped at the chance.

I'll let the feature and the accompanying online-exclusive video tour of the building (available at speak for themselves, but I will comment that it is a vastly different experience seeing a facility in person. Normally, our Showcase interviews are done over the phone, with the accompanying photography and (ideally) floorplans and other drawings our only guide as to what to ask, how things look, what a facility feels like.

In person, however, there are many factors that would never come into consideration under the above circumstances. Things like the flow of circulation, the noise levels, the lighting, and a whole laundry list of other things could never be properly put across to us through even the most extensive photography and a series of notes and interviews. While we have gone the extra step to present TriPoint to the reader this month via video, thus adding at least one extra dimension to the story, there is still no comparison with the experience of walking the halls for oneself.

For my part, I plan on trying to squeeze in a few more facility visits this year now that the bug has bitten me. This may all seem like a rather obvious point, but in today's financial climate of budget-slashing and belt-tightening, traveling to see new facilities may be less of a priority item than it was a few years back. But I'll argue that there is no substitute for the in-person experience, and especially so given the fact that in the near future, there might not be nearly as many new facilities opening to be seen. HD

Todd Hutlock, Editor-in-Chief Healthcare Design 2010 February;10(2):6