Innovation Revolution


>>Henry Ford Health System opened the Innovation Institute at its Detroit campus in October 2011 to adapt to the rapidly-changing world of technology and consumer-impacted health care. Beaumont Health Systems, the University of Michigan, and other hospital systems have set up similar centers to foster collaboration in the medical field.  Here are a few of the advances under way at the Henry Ford Innovation Institute.


Currently, physicians communicate through pagers, unsecure text messages, and in-person conversations, leading to confusion and, oftentimes, inefficiency. To address this challenge, the Innovation Institute is creating StatChat, a mobile application that securely centers all clinician-to-clinician communications on individual patients, improving efficiency and quality of care while enhancing patient safety. The application was conceived by two surgical residents, Dr. Peter Adams and Dr. Ogo Azuh, during a research year at the Innovation Institute.

Virtual Nurse

One of the most critical factors affecting how patients recover is how well they do after their hospital stay. However, with limited time for education and an overload of material, patients are often confused about their post-discharge instructions. Enter the Virtual Nurse, conceived by ob-gyn Dr. Adnan Munkarah and others at Henry Ford. Virtual Nurse addresses the problem through a tablet-based educational tool that allows patients to digest information at their own pace and to access multimedia educational materials. It also allows nurses to track comprehension and focus patient education on the areas where it is needed most. The program will be piloted in the hospital’s labor and delivery unit, with future use planned for other hospital units.

Regional Citrate Anticoagulation

Septic shock, the last stage in the progression of sepsis, causes one-third to one-half of all patient deaths in hospitals. Now, nephrologist Dr. Balazs Szamosfalvi, working with the Innovation team, has developed the Regional Citrate Anticoagulation, or RCA solution. The process ensures easier, safer, less expensive, and more effective dialysis treatments for acute kidney injury — a symptom of septic shock. RCA technology is only available at Henry Ford Hospital; however, the Henry Ford Innovation Institute is committed to developing and launching the commercial form of RCA technology to serve critically ill patients worldwide.

3-D Heart Valve Implantation Planning

Advanced 3-D printing capabilities are allowing Henry Ford Hospital clinicians to prepare for more accurate and precise methods for the implantation of heart valves on high-risk cardiovascular patients. The pioneering 3-D capabilities at the Innovation Institute are now being used to optimally measure, size, and produce full-scale models of patients’ heart valves, giving the hospital’s structural heart team — led by Dr. William O’Neill and supported by Dr. Dee Dee Wang — better insight into performing the life-saving procedures on patients who previously had limited hope.

Innovation Challenges

While many novel and original ideas are generated at the Innovation Institute every day, a large number of major health challenges remain without practical solutions. As such, the center has established an Innovative Challenge program for the development of cutting-edge solutions from its employees and the global community as a whole. The program offers incentives ranging from cash prizes to commercialization support to encourage the conception and development of new solutions. The institute has sponsored several challenges in the past year, reaching innovators in 27 countries and tackling such problems as avoidable readmissions and clinical applications of wearable technology. db