Marc Chase is a veteran investigative reporter, columnist and editor of more than two decades. He currently leads The Times news staff as local news editor. He can be reached at 219-933-3327.

In our childhood, it was the stuff of science fiction novels:

  • Robotic arms aiding in major surgeries, as a computer maps out the affected anatomy.
  • Surgeons observing and directing colleagues in an operating room via video conference, seeing the action from a mobile robotic tool.
  • Cutting-edge tests and imaging making treatments for cancer far more effective — and a cure that much closer.

These things and more are now on full display, thriving in reality, in Northwest Indiana health-care facilities.

For years, one of our Region's biggest selling points has been its close proximity and access to world-class hospitals and other health-care facilities in Chicago.

That vital advantage of our Region remains today.

However, an evolution of innovation in Northwest Indiana health-care means that Region patients don't have to travel across state lines anymore to access the best tech and treatment.

In fact, a some of these innovations have brought the best of health-care available in Chicago and elsewhere into Northwest Indiana operating rooms.

Today, in this special section, we're allowing those cutting-edge treatments, innovations and technologies to take center stage.

Several of the Region's top health-care providers agreed to detail their stories of innovation in our "NWI Health Care on the Cutting Edge" premium section.

You'll hear from some of best and brightest Northwest Indiana health-care professionals as they take you into operating rooms, senior care facilities, orthodontist chairs and examination rooms where the world's leading standards of medical innovation are in play every day.

Through this section, you'll learn medical innovation isn't always about complicated technologies, though the Region has that tech in spades. Several examples of the best innovation come in outside-the-box treatment that crosses health disciplinary fields.

The quality and level of care in force in our Region should make us feel fortunate and proud.

Quality of place means so much to all of us, and Northwest Indiana health-care providers are contributing a bounty of factors to this end.

Today's section is but a sampling of the best that Northwest Indiana health care has to offer.

In the coming year, The Times will make every effort to continue telling more of these stories.

Local News Editor Marc Chase can be reached at (219) 933-3327 or marc.chase@nwi.com. Follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marc.chase.9 or Twitter @nwi_MarcChase. The opinions are the writer's.