The adoption of 3D printing by hospitals and clinics continues to grow at a rapid pace with 2019 being no exception. As the technology becomes more accessible and the benefits to physicians and patients is further appreciated, more hospitals are choosing to invest resources in 3D printing infrastructure as an enabler of personalized healthcare.
COVID-19 has placed a significant burden on healthcare systems around the globe that are straining to handle the volumes of ill patients requiring life-saving treatment. The shift in clinical priorities in response to the pandemic provides the opportunity for 3D-printing resources at the Point-of-Care, including software, equipment, and skilled personnel, to be used in other ways.
The advantages offered by surgical planning tools and personalized guides and implants are applicable to a vast variety of surgical treatments. Some of these benefits have already been raised by the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) program in the UK.
3D technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and 3D printing provide doctors with more information than they can see with 3D images on 2D displays, making the tools valuable in surgical planning at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).
Easily collaborating between teams across the hospital system, better surgical results and achieving true informed consent with patients are just three reasons why Nemours Children’s Hospital uses an in-house 3D printing service.
Virtual patients have been gaining attention in recent years as a way to augment pre-clinical tests and even clinical trials. While for many applications the concept is still in its infancy, the use of virtual patients has become standard practice in the development process of orthopedic implants.
Why does the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht in the Netherlands invest in the latest 3D technologies for their craniomaxillofacial (CMF) practice? To bridge the gap between research and the clinic and provide cutting-edge care by delivering 3D planning, 3D design of guides and models, technical support to surgeons, and technical information to patients all in one place.
When we think about the impact of 3D printing on the healthcare industry, we mostly think about the productinnovations it enables. From today’s reality of 3D printing fully-customized skull implants, to future hopes and promises of printing vital organs. These product innovations build on the fact that 3D printing is an inherently digital manufacturing technology, enabling complex designs and increased functionality. Moreover, 3D printing allows for the creation of patient-specific instruments and truly personalized implants that take into account the patient’s unique anatomy. However, the impact of the technology doesn’t end there; 3D printing also enables significant process innovations.
More haptic perception, fully integrating with electronic medical records, and talking to patients without the use of screens are just a few reasons discussed at the 3D Printing in Medicine Course as to why hospitals are turning to Point-of-Care 3D Printing. The event, which took place at the M Museum in Leuven, Belgium, on June 13 and 14, 2019, brought together clinicians, medical imaging specialists, engineers, and other experts involved in turning medical imaging data into anatomical models in hospitals to share learnings, findings, and cases to further the field.