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Top Takeaways from ASHE PDC

Always a hotspot for collaboration, the American Society of Healthcare Engineers Planning Design and Construction (ASHE PDC) Summit once again had a lot to offer this year. Here are our top takeaways from Phoenix in 2023.

Unique Construction Approaches During a Pandemic

Yes, we’re still talking about pandemics; they’re a big deal.

Many sessions discussed real-world solutions to construction challenges created by the pandemic. Labor shortages, supply chain challenges, and material price volatility have now plagued the construction industry for multiple years. We are finally at a point where we can begin to look back and see what has worked and what hasn’t. Following is a summary of success stories from multiple sessions:

  • Modular and prefabrication were successful in limiting the number of workers in the field. While the benefits of prefabrication are widely recognized, it was particularly useful during the pandemic in reducing the number of workers needed on-site. This resulted in limiting widespread COVID-19 infections on projects that would shut sites down completely.
  • One example explained how a construction firm built a temporary prefab shop on-site for a large healthcare project. This strategy allowed the contractor to take back some control of the supply chain and shipping challenges during the pandemic. The on-site shop had a conveyor system that moved finished products out of the shop into a location where they could be picked by tower crane. Pieces much larger than could traditionally be produced were prefabricated because they were not limited by on-road or shipping container size limitations.
  • Another case study showed the benefits of integral design-build teams. In the study, a health system chose a new-to-them project delivery approach for a massive nearly $4 billion hospital expansion. They hired a team to collaborate within the progressive design-build delivery method. This arrangement allowed incredible agility when needed to drastically change the scope of the project during the pandemic. It also has allowed the team to collectively navigate price volatility and procurement challenges in order to keep this massive project on schedule and on budget.

Future of the Healthcare Industry

One of the main sessions offered interesting insight into the potential future of healthcare through the lens of an inventor. The speaker shared thoughts on where the healthcare industry is heading, largely leveraging new technologies, and personal electronic devices. Here are a few of the ideas:

  • Patients will shop for healthcare. It’s possible that waiting rooms will become a thing of the past. Why would a patient voluntarily wait to see a provider if a competitor could schedule and notify them of the exact time to arrive when a provider would be ready to see them?
  • The future of telemedicine will utilize advanced sensors in our personal electronic devices and artificial intelligence. These sensors, in conjunction with artificial intelligence (AI), will assist the physician in providing accurate diagnoses and support a productive, accurate dialogue with the patient.
  • Text messaging, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. have changed the way we communicate. Communication is asynchronous, meaning we don’t communicate in real-time, but rather when it is convenient for us. Telemedicine will follow suit and help to align the schedule of the patient with the availability of the provider.
  • Insurance companies will use biometric sensors to track your health habits in order to reduce premiums. We already see devices that can monitor heart rate, perform ECGs, and monitor blood oxygen levels, typically worn on the wrist. This will evolve into in-ear devices where biometrics can be monitored much more accurately. Automotive insurance companies already allow for a reduction in premiums if you plug a device into your vehicle to monitor your driving habits. The health insurance industry will follow suit.

Healthcare Organization Strategies of the Future

Four strategies every healthcare organization should develop were brought to the table. This summarized some of the major topics at the Summit, as many of these strategies were topics of other sessions.

  • Customer Experience Strategy – The key here is to realize that patients are customers, and customers will make their own choices in where they shop for healthcare. Develop a plan to drive targeted growth by improving your customer’s experience.
  • Staff Experience Strategy – With the incredible labor shortage in the healthcare industry, what differentiates your organization that will attract and keep critical talent? Fortunately, there were several sessions that discussed preventing staff burnout, combating healthcare violence through design, and harnessing team morale.
  • Enterprise Innovation Strategy – What is your plan to reduce operational costs and improve efficiency? This should be all-encompassing of operational costs: utilities, supplies, staff efficiencies, service line efficiencies, etc.
  • Anticipatory Technology Strategy – How will your organization leverage technology advancements to drive growth in your market? An example was given of a company that allows you to renew your prescription right from your home computer.


Our team of healthcare experts is prepared and eager to take on the current and future challenges within the healthcare industry. Need advice or design consulting? Please reach out.

Brett Walbrdige-VP Healthcare

Brett Walbridge, PE

Brett serves as our VP of Healthcare with experience in all types of healthcare facilities locally and on an international scale. He is responsible for market strategy, delivering our purpose to clients, ensuring projects are delivered to contract requirements and PEC standards, and the collaboration between market and technical units to achieve our company vision. Brett holds a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering degree from the University of Kansas and is a licensed Professional Engineer in eight states.

PEC leadership-John Breidenthal PEC Healthcare Team

John Breidenthal, PE

John is a mechanical project manager responsible for managing full-service, multi-discipline project design delivery including design production, quality and client experience. He serves as the central point of contact for the client, architect and contractors throughout the design and construction process. Works with clients to develop design scope, schedule and budget. He oversees engineering construction administration responsibilities, ensuring thorough and timely engineering coordination, design implementation, contract document management and project closeout.