It’s one of the most reflective times—As another year wraps up, we look back to see how far we’ve come before turning our attention to what lies ahead.

To gather some industry perspectives, I reached out to Healthcare Design's Editorial Advisory Board members and asked for their thoughts on where the industry made strides in 2015 and what they hope to see on the horizon in 2016.

This intelligent bunch always has a lot to say and they didn't disappoint with the opportunity to make their own "best of" list for the year.

Many shared positive reviews for 2015 as more projects and requests for proposals came on-line as operators recognized the need and importance of developing new models of care, addressing their existing facilities, and seeking new ideas (both in design and delivery models) to answer new challenges and demands.

"Projects are at a very accelerated pace, which has challenged the industry to think about how we approach design, planning, and construction differently," says Jocelyn Stroupe, a principal at CannonDesign (Chicago).

I also asked them to offer up their ideas for the coming year and what they thought was the biggest opportunity for the future. Here, one shared hope that techology will be used to further improve the care environment, while another said "true" integrated project delivery platforms need to be used to improve the process of delivering heatlhcare projects.

Read on for more insight, then share your ideas in the comments section or email me at

Q: In what area of the industry did you see the most progress this year?

  • Health system reconfiguration. Virtually all of the major academic and health systems we work with have made significant investments in developing their ambulatory care networks while redeveloping their inpatient hubs. The combination, for the leading systems, will ultimately position them well for new reimbursement structures and make them more accessible.—James Crispino, president, Francis Cauffman
  • Healthcare providers are finally feeling confident enough to start planning for the strategic overhaul of their aging facilities. Infrastructure upgrades, conversion to private rooms, and more robust technology integration are back in play after six years on hold.—Sheila F. Cahnman, president, JumpGarden Consulting LLC
  • Strategic planning has increased significantly in both private and public sectors, indicating a renewed interest among our clients for mid- to short-term infrastructure investments. Additionally, outpatient services provided us with new opportunities for innovation. Health systems are seeking new ideas to capture market share, recruit physician employees, reduce costs, and enhance their brands with new models of care facilities.—Mark Patterson, health practice leader, vice president, SmithGroupJJR
  • Projects are at a very accelerated pace, which has challenged the industry to think about how we approach design, planning, and construction differently. We’re seeing new delivery models take hold (design/build, integrated project delivery) as well as the use of modular and prefabricated componentry. We’re also feeling more pressure from clients to use the project delivery process to successfully collaborate with our partners in pursuit of working better and faster in order to execute great projects on time and on budget. It’s requiring extraordinary levels of coordination and collaboration.—Jocelyn Stroupe, principal, CannonDesign
  • Now more than ever it seems healthcare organizations are prioritizing the patient experience and driving change by integrating the operational aspects so critical to a meaningful solution.—Christine Hester Devens, associate principal, interior project designer, AECOM
  • We’re seeing deeper development of ambulatory care into the community to be able to provide care where people have access. This is the building typology of this time: A high-tech ambulatory setting under one roof that may have multispecialty clinics, ambulatory surgery, imaging, freestanding emergency department, and infusion.—Jeffrey Brand, executive director and national healthcare practice area leader, Perkins Eastman

Q: What’s the biggest opportunity for change in 2016?

  • Greater use of telemedicine and delivering care in alternative settings to the traditional hospital.—Paul Strohm, senior vice president, director of healthcare, HOK
  • Innovation in operations, products, and design. In order to do this, we must eliminate risk and create a process for innovation. We’ve seen the best and leading healthcare organizations creating innovation centers as a spin-off or subset of their organization. These have been very successful and impactful. We like to say that a project is innovative, but truly, very few have been innovative. We need to define the term and the context so we can then meet the goal of innovation and change our industry.—Gary L. Vance, president, Vance Consulting
  • The industry must move to more and true integrated project delivery platforms and, in doing so, it will require healthcare clients to establish real partnerships in lieu of the procurement approach for project delivery teams. Far too often, our industry must respond to the “cattle calls” for professional services, and certainly the request for bids on construction. It’s this one-off project delivery approach that perpetuates a fragmented, broken, and expensive process to delivering healthcare projects in this country.—Mike McKay, vice president and senior architect, Erdman