Where do health systems build innovation centers?

Over the past five years, some health systems have been creating dedicated spaces to explore digital health by launching innovation centers. These centers often serve as places where digital health products are developed, but where are these facilities housed?

For its innovation hub, Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network utilized the space at its shuttered hospital campus in Bellevue, Pa.; the location had been home to a 230,000-square-foot hospital that stopped admitting patients in 2010. The innovation hub, which was launched in February, is in a 10,000-square-foot building that includes wet and dry labs, dedicated server access, conference rooms and collaboration areas.

In April, Charlotte, N.C.-based Novant Health opened its innovation center at a building owned by Enventys, a product development and launch company with which the system partnered. The Charlotte building gives innovators access to resources such as 3D printers, industrial designers, product prototyping equipment and an in-house production studio.

Atrium Health, also based in Charlotte, is planning an innovation initiative larger than a center: an entire district. The project will surround its future medical school, the Wake Forest University School of Medicine Charlotte, slated to open in 2024. The district will include four research towers and an education building as well as mixed office, retail and housing space, the health system said in November. 

Health systems often partner with universities to launch innovation centers. In 2021, UC San Diego Health built an innovation center on UCSD's La Jolla campus. The center is modeled after the University Health Network's Techna Institute, located at the University of Toronto. UCSD Health also partnered with Techna to integrate best models and practices for healthcare innovation. 

In 2020, Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital and Minneapolis-based University of Minnesota teamed up to launch an innovation center for bioengineering research. The center's administrative base will be at the University of Minnesota. It will be co-led by the University of Minnesota and Massachusetts General Hospital, collaborating with institutions at the University of California Riverside and University of California Berkeley.

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