A new collaborative space for health care innovation opened in the Ion building in Midtown on Aug. 28 under the direction of the Houston Methodist Hospital system.

The Houston Methodist Tech Hub, announced in August 2022, is the second such hub to open in Houston; the first can be found in the Houston Methodist Center for Innovation in the Texas Medical Center.

In an Aug. 28 news release, officials also called the new 1,200-square-foot space a "living laboratory for digital health technology." In it, health care professionals can access simulated environments for an inpatient hospital room, outpatient doctor's clinics and patient home experiences. The hub also provides a complete laboratory, which clinical staff can use to evaluate innovations and pilot health care-related technology, including remote monitoring, ambient intelligence—which can be used to create clinical notes based on patient conversations—and autonomous technology.

With its new home, Houston Methodist will operate alongside other Ion tenants, which include Per Scholas, a tuition-free school aimed at developing tech skills; Motif Neurotech, a medical equipment manufacturing startup; and Synopic, a startup focused on improving cameras to aid in medical procedures.

In a statement, Ion Executive Director Jan Odengard said the Houston Methodist hub opens up more opportunities for startups already at the facility.

“This partnership and opportunity provided by Houston Methodist, a leading health care organization in the country, is a testament to the ecosystem we’re building and the talent within our building," Odegard said. "Furthermore, Houston Methodist’s approach and appetite for cross-industry innovation and collaboration meshes seamlessly with the Ion’s ongoing plans to support Houston’s growing innovation community in industries and fields that will change the world.”

Methodist officials said the Innovation Center played a key role in helping pilot concepts for the upcoming Cypress hospital, slated to open in 2025 and dubbed by the health system the "hospital of the future" due to its small footprint and focus on technological innovation. Some of the technology on display at the Tech Hub at Ion is part of the plans for the Cypress hospital, according to the release.

The space will also serve as a networking hub for entrepreneurs looking to break into the health care industry, and it will be used to host educational events.