Officials with the Houston Methodist Hospital system announced plans Aug. 11 to partner with The Ion tech hub in Houston on a new health care innovation space to be modeled after Methodist's Center for Innovation Technology Hub in the Texas Medical Center.

The announcement marks the first health care partnership forged by the Ion, the grand opening for which took place in May.

“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,” Ion Executive Director Jan Odegard said in an Aug. 11 statement.

The tech hub will occupy an approximately 1,200-square-foot space at the Ion's Midtown campus, located at 4201 Main St., Houston.

It will initially be used for informational and educational programming while also serving as a place where other Ion tenants can network and receive mentoring. Part of Methodist's plans involve hosting pitch competitions and open houses that will allow Houstonians to learn about health care innovations in the works, according to the Aug. 11 news release.

The Ion, a project of Rice University, was founded with the goal of advancing Houston's status as a technology hub while also providing a space for academic, corporate and entrepreneurial research and collaboration. Tenants at the site work in industries, such as aerospace, energy, and oil and gas. A prototyping lab opened in January, providing tools to startup companies and entrepreneurs in the manufacturing industry.

Methodist's original innovation hub was founded in 2020 as a "living laboratory environment," according to the release. The new space will help expand on the work related to patient-centered health care, notably on remote monitoring, ambient intelligence and virtual reality.

“We are advancing the evolution of the hospital’s role in health care through digital transformation,” said Michelle Stansbury, Methodist's vice president of innovation and IT applications, in a statement. “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.”

The new center is expected to open later this year, according to the release.