New Economy Initiative

“Henry Ford Innovation Institution is much more than a nice building”

 Henry Ford Innovation Institute occupies a magnificent space in the heart of Henry Ford Health System’s main campus in Midtown Detroit. Originally constructed as an auditorium in 1915, the Innovation Institute, with the help of NEI, has transformed its space into an open, collaborative, modern work environment.

Dr. Madhu Prasad, Director of the Henry Ford Innovation Institute and a surgical oncologist, felt it important to create an office environment conducive to collaboration from a wide array of disciplines. He maintains that cross-disciplinary collaboration is the best way for Detroit to develop a strong culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Henry Ford Innovation Institution is much more than a nice building–it’s a network that capitalizes on the intellectual assets of Health System employees. Health care workers identify problems every day as they treat patients, and they are in a position to either create or aid in the design of unique solutions to everyday health care issues. Henry Ford Innovation Institute connects them with designers and entrepreneurs to help commercialize the innovation that arises every day in the hospital.

Peter Adams, M.D.

Peter Adams is a surgical resident and research fellow with the Henry Ford Innovation Institute. Under the tutelage of Dr. Prasad, he has become what he likes to call an “innovator in training.”

During his time at HFII, Dr. Adams began to think about how the tools he uses every day could be improved. This kind of thinking is not always supported during residencies, but Henry Ford Health System has made a concerted effort to encourage its doctors–even residents–to develop new technologies and prototypes based on their bedside experiences.

Peter is working to develop a mobile app, StatChatRx, that will centralize all communications from each doctor, nurse, and healthcare professional treating a patient. The hope is that doctors will be able to make better, more efficient, and potentially lifesaving, decisions regarding individual patients’ health.

Michael Forbes

The hospital gown is a ubiquitous part of everyone’s hospital experience. Gowns allow doctors to access parts of patients’ bodies easily. Yet, as many doctors and nurses are willing to admit, wearing them can be embarrassing for patients, making them feel undignified. Henry Ford Innovation Institute saw an opportunity in reinventing the hospital gown. They partnered with the College of Creative Studies to reconcile the issue of access with patient dignity and comfort.

Michael Forbes began working on the redesigned hospital gown as a student at CCS. After graduation, he was brought on as a staff Product Designer at the Innovation Institute and continued his work on a new gown. He consulted with doctors and patients for months to inform a new gown design.

The resulting product has the potential to revolutionize the patient experience at Henry Ford Health System and hospitals all over. “Improving the patient experience reduces the stress a patient is under and allows them to recover more quickly,” says Forbes. “We felt it was an important step, and we are glad we had the support from Henry Ford throughout the whole process.”