Abbey Delaney June 20, 2017

Representatives from over 50 medical centers converged at Materialise in Plymouth, Michigan to learn about applications, clinical value, and the best practices of implementing 3D Printing in a hospital setting.

Day One: Learning about Implementing 3D Printing from the Frontrunners

On the first day of the course, attendees heard presentations from experts and world-renowned hospitals who have already implemented centralized strategies for 3D Printing. These included the Mayo Clinic, the Ottawa Hospital, and Boston Children's Hospital, who all shared their journey and experiences with 3D Printing. These leading institutions are at the forefront of what it takes to successfully run a 3D printing lab. Each spoke to the value delivered in improved patient outcomes, reduced OR time, and saved costs to the hospital. When asked where 3D Printing fits in the hospital’s future plans, Jonathan Morris, MD (Mayo Clinic) said “How does 3D Printing not fit into our plans?”

Speakers at the event

The second part of the day included several presenters discussing the various considerations for implementing a robust 3D printing operation within a hospital. There are several things to consider, such as matching the appropriate 3D printing technology to the applications and intended use; when to build an in-house lab versus outsourcing parts of the operation; and what skillsets are required to fully leverage investments in the technology. Each speaker provided a glimpse into how their hospital made decisions on hardware, software and personnel, to implement and maintain a clinical 3D printing service within their institution.

Day Two: Getting a Taste of the 3D Printing Process

Day two began with a tour of the Materialise USA certified medical production facility. Attendees were guided through five stations to learn about the unique advantages of different 3D printing technologies, data preparation and management throughout the process, and part verification including documentation and shipping systems. Attendees were also able to gain hands-on experience with various models printed in each technology, and learned for what applications they were most useful.

The afternoon continued with more expert presentations, which focused on specific 3D printing applications in healthcare including congenital heart disease, structural heart interventions, guided orthopedic surgery and new applications in urologic procedures.  All presenters discussed the importance of the role of 3D Printing in helping them to plan complex cases – from practicing on the model before entering the operating room to creating patient-specific surgical guides, all the way to educating families about the patient’s condition.

Visiting Materialise USA's certified medical production

A Bright Future for Medical 3D Printing

The final part of the course ended with the future of 3D Printing and the ability of the technology to drive innovation in the institutions culture. The University of Michigan gave attendees a view into how the Otolaryngology department is adding a new dimension to clinical care. This innovative work is helping to create new therapies, prostheses and implantable medical 3D printing devices for patients who have no other options. At the conclusion of the event, one attendee commented,

"Management wasn't convinced we needed 3D Printing in-house but now I have evidence to go back to leadership and make a case." 

Attendees left feeling energized and excited about the future potential that 3D Printing could provide their hospital. Materialise is excited to be working with so many innovators and leaders, and looks forward to partnering with them on their journey.

Are you interested in following one of our courses or workshops on Medical 3D Printing? Keep an eye out on our events page, or subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates about our latest initiatives!

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