Rice University: Ion and Houston Methodist to open health care innovation tech hub

Houston Methodist has joined the Ion as the first health care-centric partner in the growing innovation hub.

The hospital will build out a space modeled after its Center for Innovation Technology Hub , located at its flagship in the Texas Medical Center, to showcase the latest in health care innovation.

“Partnering with Houston Methodist’s Center for Innovation is exciting. This also will advance the Ion’s ability to support entrepreneurs and innovators that are already at the Ion as we embark on a new focus in health care innovation,” said Jan Odegard, executive director of the Ion.

Expected to open later this year, the Tech Hub at the Ion will occupy an approximately 1,200-square-foot space that will first be used for informational and educational programming, networking with fellow tenants and entrepreneurs, participating in on-site mentoring and pitch competitions, and hosting open houses for the community to see how Houston Methodist is shaping patient-centered health care for the future.


Houston Methodist’s presence at the Ion advances its vision to foster more collaboration across industries, joining aerospace, energy, and oil and gas companies already embedded in the innovation hub. Through the partnership, the hospital will expand the work of its Center for Innovation and its Technology Hub, which opened in early 2020 to provide a living laboratory environment to experience the latest innovations in patient-centered health care technology, including remote monitoring, ambient intelligence and virtual reality. The space at the Ion will demonstrate how current and future technology work together in the hospital setting.

“We are advancing the evolution of the hospital’s role in health care through digital transformation,” said Michelle Stansbury, vice president of innovation and information technology applications at Houston Methodist. “Having a footprint at the Ion will not only provide the Ion’s network and Houston community with a window into what we are doing for patients, consumers and providers, but also gives the Ion community and rising innovators an opportunity to bring its own ingenuity and ideas to life with ours.”

Partnering with Houston Methodist and welcoming it to the Ion, developed by Rice Management Co. on behalf of Rice University, builds on the legacies of two of the state’s leading institutions, said Rice President Reggie DesRoches.

“Building new relationships and resources can expand digital innovation in health care,” DesRoches said. “Rice is thrilled to play its part, and we celebrate our shared commitment to meaningful community engagement.”

Houston Methodist and Rice University have a history of collaborations, including the Houston Methodist-Rice University Center for Human Performance under construction on Rice’s campus. The space is intended to bring physicians, academic researchers and university students together to work side by side with student athletes, trainers and coaches to advance research and education in human performance. Houston Methodist and Rice also are collaborating on the Center for Translational Neural Prosthetics and Interfaces to bring together scientists, clinicians, engineers and surgeons to solve clinical problems with neurorobotics.

“By enhancing opportunities for our network of academics, businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators to collaborate across the Ion District and globally, we’re creating a more resilient future economy for our region,” said Bryson Grover, Rice Management Co.’s investment manager of real estate development.

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