St. Luke’s Health System is opening a new Wood River facility to serve its community – but not in typical, clinical fashion.

Described as a “living laboratory” in a recent TechCrunch post, St. Luke’s Center for Healthcare Innovation will serve as a host for innovative health technology. Using a venture philanthropy approach, St. Luke’s leadership hopes to attract technology innovators looking for a real-life testing site in which to implement their ideas.

There is much to be gained for those innovators who choose to use the facility. In addition to giving innovators direct contact with providers and patients, St. Luke’s serves a broad, demographically diverse community, which provides a more comprehensive population representation.

According to the TechCrunch post, “By taking an approach that leads with the community and individuals, rather than an institution, there’s a great opportunity for technology companies to test their wares in the real world with St. Luke’s direct connection to individuals, community and business leaders critical to having a broad-based success.”

For St. Luke’s and its communities, the center could provide access to cutting-edge health technology, which will help drive the health system’s care delivery transformation. The process is just beginning, as St. Luke’s is looking much further down the road than what the next few years of health reform will bring.

But it is this type of approach that will enable St. Luke’s to reshape itself into a truly patient-centric, cost-effective provider.