Accelerating Healthcare Innovation: Sixth AT&T Foundry Opens in World’s Largest Medical Center in Houston Today

June 07, 2016
By Igal Elbaz

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“The initial idea for the AT&T Foundry was this: let’s plant a ‘seed’ of innovation in the form of a center/space where start-ups, developers, and all parts of our company can come together to take the innovation process to new levels. Along with openness and speed – it had to have just the right mix of technology, design resources, and expertise.”

John Donovan

AT&T is exploring the future of healthcare. Imagine that. When healthcare meets the network, our teams can securely track and monitor a patient’s condition from the hospital to the home. It can mean less time in hospitals and more time at home. And it can mean giving caregivers more—and better—tools to help their patients, like predicting and reminding them to take their daily medications.

Today, we open our doors to a new health-focused innovation center—our sixth in the world—at the Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Institute campus.

The AT&T Foundry in Houston, Texas, is dedicated solely to digital health innovations that can help caregivers and patients improve their quality of life. As Vice President, Ecosystem and Innovation, this is a very exciting time for us at the AT&T Foundry.

The Houston AT&T Foundry will feature 3 main digital health test environments for start-ups, physicians, or others with ideas on connected healthcare innovation to develop new solutions.

  1. Home (after care): We test the elements related to home monitoring after a patient goes home from the hospital.
  2. Clinical: This space recreates the connected hospital environment.
  3. Nurse Station: We’re helping to bridge patient care in the hospital and the home. This will allow caregivers more visibility/remote access to meaningful patient data in real-time.

This AT&T Foundry for Connected Healthcare is part of our growing AT&T Foundry innovation ecosystem. It also marks a unique collaboration with the premier hospital and medical innovation community in the world.

When the first AT&T Foundry launched in 2011, it was a radical new approach to innovation at a big company. We designed it around speed and openness. We also focused on collaborating with start-ups, developers and other innovative thinkers. The goal: to go from concept to commercialization faster than previously possible. 

"Technology is evolving at such a fast pace, we cannot wait for ideas to come to us. The AT&T Foundry allows us to drive innovation in a number of fronts – from connected cars to wearables to the industrial IoT. With healthcare being such a pressing societal need, we want to be at the forefront of innovation and help bring to market healthcare solutions that will make a positive impact on patients’ lives."

  – Ralph de la Vega

It worked. In the last 5 years, AT&T Foundry has become the template for building and maintaining a culture of rapid innovation at a large company. We met with thousands of developers. We tested hundreds of concepts. And we launched dozens of projects into the market or onto our own network.

We also changed the culture within AT&T. Now, 12-week sprint development cycles and open floor plans are standard.

View the infographic.

With this healthcare-focused center, we’re tackling one of the biggest challenges in the world today. It’s a challenge many of us know on a personal level, from caring for aging parents to young children and everyone in between. It’s also an industry with a complex web of regulations, safeguards and costs.

We knew we had the technical expertise to bring some new ideas to the table. We’ve already done that with previous AT&T Foundry projects like Remote Patient Monitoring and our connected wheelchair. We opened our Internet of Things innovation center in Plano, Texas, in 2013. The Connected Health AT&T Foundry will now leverage the best practices and expertise established in our IoT AT&T Foundry.

But, if you want to make a dent in the medical field, you also need to work with experts in medicine, law, governmental regulations and insurance. That’s why we came to Houston. Building the AT&T Foundry inside the TMC Innovation Institute isn’t just about surrounding ourselves with some of the smartest healthcare innovators in the world. It’s walking distance from dozens of hospitals and clinics.

We’re counting on these doctors, nurses and patients—not to mention technicians, insurance and regulatory experts and more—to give us critical real-world feedback on how we can quickly solve the challenges they’re facing.

Today, we have 6 AT&T Foundries and counting. Over the past 5 years, we’ve been disruptive in all the right ways – and bolstered value for the business. We’ve not only accelerated innovation, but we’ve redefined it.

I’m proud that we’re the first service provider to open an innovation facility within the TMC. If we want to make healthcare better, we have to do it together. I can’t wait to get started. You’ll be hearing a lot more on this new effort very soon.

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Igal Elbaz - Vice President - Ecosystem and Innovation, AT&T Services, Inc 

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