Clinical Innovation

innovation walker
Members of the early rehabilitation team at Henry Ford Hospital work on a prototype of their "high acuity walker." The team used the “MakeWell” space at the Henry Ford Innovation Institute, as well as the expertise of Innovations staff, to create a specialized walker to help ICU patients with ambulation.

Innovation is deeply ingrained at Henry Ford Health System, with creative, curious employees in every office and every unit of the organization.

Supporting and encouraging employees to develop their ideas has created a culture of discovery that is responsible for incredible advances. Providers are excited about becoming the first in the world to provide new technology. Research and discoveries don’t end at Henry Ford, they are shared with the goal of consistently achieving better health outcomes for our neighbors at home and around the world.


First in World to deliver Radiation Therapy using Real-Time MRI Imaging

In July, the Henry Ford Cancer Institute was the first in the world to treat a cancer patient using advanced radiation therapy with FDA-cleared, real-time magnetic resonance imaging and linear accelerator delivery.

The MRIdian Linac by ViewRay, Inc. combines the effectiveness of MRI, which produces high-quality images of organs and structures inside the body, with a linear accelerator to map out a therapy plan and deliver radiation at the intended target, while allowing for refinements to be made in real-time during treatment. The result is a more accurate, precise treatment.

radonc display
Benjamin Movsas, M.D., (center) with Indrin Chetty, Ph.D. (left), director, Medical Physics Division, and Paul Jackson (right), radiation oncology therapist, in the control room using the MRIdian Linac radiation therapy system at Henry Ford Medical Center – Cottage.

It can treat cancer anywhere in the body. The technology is available at Henry Ford Medical Center - Cottage in Grosse Pointe Farms and the first patient in the world was treated there for prostate cancer. Radiation oncologists were not only able to see the exact location of the prostate in real time as it was being treated, but also the neighboring normal structures, including the bladder and rectum.

Over the years, technology has improved the accuracy of radiation treatment while protecting surrounding healthy tissue. However, trying to accommodate for the natural movement of a tumor and the body’s internal organs during treatment has been elusive. This next generation MRIdian Linac system is a novel radiation oncology technology that delivers:

  • Confidence in accuracy and precision. Real-time MRI images and continuous soft-tissue imaging is done throughout the treatment, automatically targeting the tumor and surrounding organs, ensuring the beam hits the targeted treatment area.
  • Personalized treatment. By continuously observing and assessing the patient’s tumor and internal organs, clinicians can adapt in real time, reshaping the dose while the patient is on the table.
  • Real-time imaging. When clinicians can clearly see the target and watch where the radiation is being delivered, they are better able to adapt to natural movement of the patient’s anatomy. Doctors previously did not have the tools to see organs in real time to make changes during radiation therapy.


innovation genesis case opener
The Genesis case opener is an innovation created by Henry Ford staff to quickly and easily open containers that store surgical instruments.

Henry Ford Innovation Institute

The Innovation Institute is rooted in a robust research and discovery program.

  • More than 200 medical specialists are involved in more than 1,800 ongoing clinical research projects.
  • Henry Ford Innovations offers all staff members the opportunity and resources to commercialize their ideas or simply improve patient care or their work environment. Examples are the high acuity walker (pictured above) now being used in the Henry Ford Hospital ICU and Genesis case opener.
  • Work in the Innovation Institute is resulting in licensing agreements for Henry Ford that translate into new revenue streams. Examples include:
    • New heart failure medication and heart failure device which have resulted in seven licensing agreements.
    • Development of cell-based research tools that enable researchers to generate custom model systems for their studies, which was recently licensed to Applied Biological Materials.
    • Culinary wellness recipes which have been licensed to be served at corporate food courts and other commercial venues in India.


innovation saudi arabia hospital
Aldara Hospital and Medical Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia will open in 2018 with a focus on ambulatory care.

Global Program Enhances Healthcare Access in India, Saudi Arabia

Henry Ford’s Innovations Global Program has executed license agreements for hospital development projects in the cities of Vellore, Kolkata, and Guwahati in India, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“We are leveraging HFHS know-how to help create world class hospitals in India and Saudi Arabia," says Mark Coticchia, Vice President & Chief Innovation Office.

The multi-specialty hospitals are expected to open between 2018 and 2021. The first is Aldara Hospital and Medical Center in Saudi Arabia. It will focus on ambulatory care and is scheduled to open in 2018. Naruvi Hospital in Vellore, India will be a 400-bed hospital and is projected to open in 2019. Hospitals in Kolkata and Guwahati, India, will follow by 2021.

innovation india hospital2
Projected to open in 2019, Naruvi Hospital in Vellore, India will be a 400-bed hospital and offer increased access to care.
Henry Ford’s Global Program is a unique venture structured as license agreement: Henry Ford licenses its know-how, intellectual property and brand, and in return, receives an annual royalty based on revenue.

“We create partnerships in countries like India and Saudi Arabia that face challenges with healthcare access. By applying proven practices, protocols, policies, and technologies to the existing healthcare infrastructure, we improve care in that area and enhance Henry Ford’s international reputation,” says Scott Dulchavsky, M.D., CEO of the Henry Ford Innovation Institute and chairman of surgery at Henry Ford Hospital.


3Dprinting
Henry Ford uses 3D printed models and computer simulation of the mitral valve to plan heart surgeries.

2017 Clinical Innovation Highlights

  • Began using HIPEC procedure for abdominal cancers. HIPEC uses heated chemotherapy medications during surgery and can extend survival from months to years.
  • Third in the world to employ BASILICA, a procedure used during a valve replacement operation to prevent coronary obstruction.
  • First in the U.S. to complete more than 100 transcaval heart procedures. The transcaval heart procedure was pioneered at HFHS and has a 98 percent success rate. It allows patients avoid open surgery for heart valve replacement, HFHS received the Orloff Award from the NIH to recognize this outstanding achievement in the development of novel research tools.
  • Regular use of 3D printing for transcatheter mitral valve replacement. The 3D printed models of the mitral valve are used in surgery planning.
2017 System Annual Report

Henry Ford Health System