The Catalyst project will take up a city block at 35th and Brighton in Denver. Photo courtesy UCHealth

UCHealth to move innovation team to Catalyst project in RiNo

AURORA — UCHealth, with a major health-care presence in Northern Colorado and the Boulder Valley, will move its innovation team to the Catalyst Health-Tech Innovation building in Denver’s River North District (RiNo) and will be one of the facility’s largest tenants. The purpose: To accelerate UCHealth’s work to transform health care delivery for the future.

The health-care organization wants to be part of Catalyst because proximity to other innovators may help to spur new ideas.

UCHealth hosted a tour Wednesday of the unfinished space that it will occupy. Manny Rodriguez, chief marketing and experience officer for UCHealth, told BizWest that the organization will have 17,000 square feet of space on the top floor of the facility and be the anchor tenant with external signage identifying UCHealth.

“Artificial intelligence, big data, decision support, virtual health and wearables are rapidly disrupting health care as we know it,” said Dr. Richard Zane, UCHealth chief innovation officer, in a prepared statement. “We are committed to being at the forefront of this change and partnering with other innovators to improve the quality, experience and safety of health care while helping control costs.”

Catalyst HTI is a 180,000-square-foot real estate development that brings together stakeholders from across health, wellness and health-care industries to collaborate and incubate innovative ideas. The site will cover an entire block, located on the west side of Brighton Boulevard between 35th and 36th streets in Denver. It will bring together more than 70 organizations that will work together in a space focused on collaboration to foster new ideas. UCHealth IT experts and members of the organization’s creative team including marketing also will have space within the facility.

UCHealth’s innovation lab will be located on the top floor of the Catalyst building in Denver’s RiNo district. Photo courtesy UCHealth

Rodriguez said ideas coming out of collaboration will be shared throughout UCHealth, and some members of the Northern Colorado organization may join the team at Catalyst. “None of the people who will be there sit together or work together right now,” he said. About 70 UCHealth staff members will work at the facility, he said.

“Health-tech innovation has the potential to significantly improve medical outcomes, and health care is not going to be re-imagined just through established health care organizations or startups — we have to do it together,” said Mike Biselli, health-tech entrepreneur and co-founder of Catalyst HTI. “Our industry integrator concept allows UCHealth to be plugged in at the point of innovation by physically housing a health care innovation ecosystem in a single location — allowing entrepreneurs, technologists and clinicians to collaborate through the entire process of innovation.”

UCHealth plans to build an innovation lab at the location with a “hospital room of the future,” a space to test equipment and devices and actually create a new type of clinical setting. It might not even be in a hospital — it could be in your own home, said Steve Hess, UCHealth chief information officer. By experimenting with virtual health options, wearable monitors and the electronic health record, health care organizations might be able to transform a patient’s bedroom into a space where medicine is delivered in a new way that is comfortable for the patient and delivered at a lower cost.

“We are now in the dawn of a new era of medicine, one in which the electronic medical record and artificial intelligence work hand in hand with medical providers to support and inform clinical decisions,” said Hess. “By working together with some of the brightest minds from other health-care companies, we will accelerate innovation and develop novel ways of healing patients and keeping the public healthy.”

UCHealth is already partnering with more than a dozen innovative companies, and together, products have been developed to improve the efficiency of operating rooms, boost the accuracy of medication prescribing, inject the latest research and protocols into the electronic medical record, and to utilize wearable devices to constantly monitor the vital signs of patients. More innovations are currently in development, the health care organization said.

“It’s more than technology,” said Rodriguez. “How rooms are set up to be comfortable for the patient is part of it. The average cell phone charger cord is 3 feet. Where it can be plugged in is important to the patient,” he said.

“The most exciting part of innovation and the Catalyst location is that we can only anticipate what’s next. We don’t know yet what ideas and innovations will be inspired and developed here — and we can’t wait to expand the work we’ve already started,” said Dr. Jennifer Wiler, founder and executive director of the UCHealth CARE Innovation Center.

Catalyst is being developed by Denver-based Koelbel and Co., the longest-operating family-owned real estate development firm in the region.