DETROIT — A $12-million Detroit project aimed at shaping the future of medicine – the Innovation Institute at Henry Ford Hospital – officially opened its doors Wednesday.

“Our vision is to grow a robust new industry within the region with the potential to create new jobs. By doing so, we can improve the health, economy and living standards of our community,” said Madhu Prasad, M.D., director of the Innovation Institute at Henry Ford and a surgeon.

The Institute, located on the campus of Henry Ford Hospital, is a partnership that includes Henry Ford Medical Group, the College for Creative Studies, the Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems program at Wayne State University and The Henry Ford.

“We were surprised to discover that imaginative thinkers, who had little experience with doctors or hospitals, were able to partner in unique and synergistic ways with Henry Ford engineers and scientists,” Prasad said. “We have assembled a remarkable set of intellectual assets here in Southeast Michigan that promises to transform care.”

The Institute already has launched several dozen projects, including:
* Virtual breast biopsy.
* Knifeless surgery.
* Rapid diagnosis of viruses and cancers.
* Surgical probes that can instantly differentiate malignant versus normal cells.
* Endotracheal equipment products that allows any user, trained or untrained, to intubate a neonatal patient quickly, easily and precisely.
* A surgical retractor system that enables transition from laparoscopic surgery to open surgery.
* An ergonomic operating room chair for physicians.
* A waiting room communications system that keeps patients’ families informed through every step of a loved one’s surgery.
* Dialysis-like therapeutics to treat sepsis.
* A blood test to objectively identify traumatic brain injury.
* A portable “environment-of-care” cabinet which provides soothing music, light, and aroma therapy to enhance patient recovery.
* A Health Kiosk which provides empowering medical information.

“Detroit was the world’s center of innovation for many decades with the auto industry leading the way,” says Bob Riney, president and chief operating officer at Henry Ford Health System. “As a result, the region attracts and retains the best engineering and design talent you will find anywhere. Through the Innovation Institute, we will combine those skills with the incredible clinical and scientific talent of the Henry Ford Medical Group and write the next chapter of our region’s innovation DNA.”

The goal of the Institute is to find creative solutions to identify best processes and support the requirements of specialties to:

* Focus on extending state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic techniques to impact a wider variety of diseases with non-invasive, minimally invasive, and/or robotic techniques, so that patient outcomes and safety can be optimized.
* Pursue bench-to-bedside development opportunities in robotics, advanced interventions, and non-invasive techniques.
* Incorporate telemedicine and telepresence for teaching, patient care, and medical outreach to the community.
* Integrate cost-analysis studies and clinical quality and safety studies into the process for innovation to develop value-based models of new treatments and technologies.
* Develop and commercialize new products which will enhance medical care in the future.

The Institute first joined with the CCS, a world leader in art and design education, last winter when 15 senior product-design students, none of whom had any background in medicine, spent weeks observing the environment and experiences of staff, patients and families one-to-one in Henry Ford Hospital.

“What emerged from those experiences far exceeded our expectations, from space redesigns of patient rooms and waiting areas, to surgical and diagnostic tool development,” Prasad said.

Projects included endotracheal equipment products that allow any user, trained or untrained, to intubate a neonatal patient quickly, easily and precisely, without the hassles and limitations of traditional equipment. Another design was a surgical retractor system that enables transition from laparoscopic surgery to open surgery with time and cost efficiency.

In both cases, the students were hired by the Innovation Institute to work with researchers on product designs. Now a second class of 15 CCS students has started design work at Henry Ford Hospital.

The other major partner is SSIM at Wayne State, which has a long history of developing products for the automobile industry, U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and Intel.

Projects, including virtual breast biopsy, knifeless surgery, rapid diagnosis of viruses and cancers, and surgical probes that can instantly differentiate malignant versus normal cells, are among several dozen currently being developed between Henry Ford and SSIM.

To learn more about the Innovation Institute at Henry Ford, visit


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