Case Study: The Technology Hub


A Place to Innovate


The Challenge

One of the challenges to creating innovation in health care is finding a testing environment. Software or technology can be designed and built anywhere, but it must prove to be useful in an actual clinical environment.

The Solution

Houston Methodist Center for Innovation is developing a wing in one of our clinical buildings to provide a laboratory environment for testing technology. The Technology Hub will provide a complete environment for clinical staff, doctors, nurses and patients to experience and evaluate cutting-edge innovation. We plan to provide an environment that can accommodate all users from all areas of care — from wellness to acute medicine. 

The Pilot

The Center for Innovation is prioritizing three rooms to start:


  1. Voice technology and natural language processing. Our goal is to partner with vendors to test various technologies to see which performs best in the clinical environment. We’ll be looking at interfaces, such as wall screens and different types of speakers, to find a model that improves the patient experience and decreases the physician’s interaction with device-recording notes. 
  2. Smartwatch. We’ll be using the smartwatch to test some of the same ideas regarding voice command and natural language processing. The watch collects wave files, and we are working with EPIC to push the envelope on voice technology and documentation throughout the patient experience — from intake through discharge — identifying the best opportunities for efficiencies and improved patient satisfaction.
  3. Virtual reality (VR) waiting room. Waiting rooms are pain points for patients, who may be in acute discomfort awaiting care. The Center for Innovation team is asking: How do we have wait-less rooms? Providing patients with a VR experience can provide stimulation that can distract from discomfort — and could even be used to help deliver health information. 

The Results

The Technology Hub is still in its infancy, but the goal is to provide a space where the technology can be designed around real provider- and patient-use cases. 

What's Next?

Ultimately, the Center for Innovation plans to offer up the hub to vendor partners and researchers who want to collaborate in the development of new health technologies.