We’ve been talking about it for years now, how the American healthcare landscape has been—and continues to be—radically altered in pursuit of a more sustainable system of better care, lower costs, and a healthier population. It’s a revolution, really, and the rooms and buildings in which healthcare happens have no choice but to change to meet these needs. Innovations in space planning, workflow, building materials, care delivery, patient and family amenities, wayfinding, and staff support—these aren’t “nice-to-haves.” They’re rapidly approaching “must-have” status.

And yet, as Executive Editor Jennifer Kovacs Silvis perfectly puts it in her upcoming March 2015 article “Leap of Faith”: “Innovation requires risk; healthcare is a risk-averse industry.”

And that’s why we launched the Healthcare Design Innovation Survey in November.

It’s a real issue for designers and builders in this industry, being able to see so clearly the need for change and new ideas, but feeling handcuffed by (understandably) reticent providers whose whole culture of doing business has been blown up by reform. Add to that the obstacles in the way of expanding research to define more clear connections between the built environment and outcomes, and no wonder the possibilities for true innovation still feel somewhat out of reach.

Our survey focused on identifying where innovation is currently happening, where it should be happening, and where we need to concentrate more effort. And by “where,” we mean what physical areas of the environment, what sectors of the industry, what product categories, etc. We had a lot more questions we wanted to ask, to dig even deeper into the subject—but in the end, we didn’t want to scare anyone away with a 147-question survey.

Silvis’ article (coming soon) lays out the Innovation Survey findings, culling the information garnered from about 400 responses from professionals across the industry. The next steps will be identifying specific ways to drive that targeted innovation. That process begins with the Healthcare Design Academy in Houston (April 27-28) and will continue through the remaining 2015 Academy events, as we present more details on the findings and engage attendees in a “what’s next” discussion. Through those conversations and more (via our website and social media), we hope to keep the momentum going as the year progresses.

For more information on the Academy events, visit HCDAcademy.com.