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Houston Methodist's Head of Innovation Highlights Importance of Digital Tech in Health Care

Published Aug 12, 2022 by Brina Morales

Illuminate Houston with Dr. Roberta L Schwartz

Illuminate Houston with Dr. Roberta L Schwartz

There is no debate digital technology and innovation is transforming and will continue to enhance the health care industry. Hospital systems across the Houston area continue to develop and implement technology that improves patient care and workflow. Houston Methodist is one of the nation’s most respected health systems and leaders in innovative technology. That’s why Houston Methodist’s Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer Roberta L. Schwartz, Ph.D., joined the Partnership for its second installment of Illuminate Houston to highlight the hospital system’s digital, consumer-centric approach to implementing solutions for its patients and workforce. The event took place the same week Houston Methodist announced it will build an innovation hub at the Ion

Schwartz described the hospital’s innovative use of data analytics and artificial intelligence to improve clinical efficiency and health outcomes. Houston Methodist recently announced a collaboration with BioIntelliSense to expand its use of wearable devices allowing hospitals to monitor patients remotely. The devices, known as BioButtons, can capture vitals and other biometrics at a fraction of the cost of traditional, manually collected measurements. As Houston Methodist looks to expand the use of wearable devices, the health system hopes to use the technology to serve as predictive healthcare for better, proactive patient care. 

“I don’t want to know you had a heart attack. I want to know if you’re going to have a heart attack,” Schwartz said. 

Schwartz acknowledged that innovation in the health care industry can be challenging, but she said planning and finding sustainable solutions that patients and healthcare workers can adopt for the future is critical. 

“The more you worry about the present, the less you plan for the future. And if I’m not making people uncomfortable, then I’m not innovating,” she said. 

Houston Methodist’s investment in innovation is evident in recent announcements. According to the Houston Chronicle, the hospital’s tech hub at the Ion, expected to open later this year, will be modeled after the hospital system’s Center for Innovation Technology Hub on a smaller scale. The original hub opened in 2020 to serve as a lab to test health care software and tech innovations.  

The Center for Innovation was founded in 2018 and has since launched several initiatives within its hospitals, including, CareSense, an automated patient education program, virtual urgent care, and the Virtual Intensive Care Unit, a remote monitoring center. 

Learn more about the innovations, collaborations, challenges and exciting developments in the medical industry at the Partnership’s 2022 State of the Texas Medical Center on Sept. 20.