TRENDS

Five Key Takeaways of the 3D Printing in Hospitals Forum 2024

People at a conference wearing AR glasses and testing out new functionalities of Materialise software.

The 3D Printing in Hospitals Forum 2024 was not merely a gathering of 3D hospital lab professionals; it brought together innovation, expertise, and collaboration to shape the future of healthcare. For two dynamic days, attendees were immersed in a rich mix of presentations, workshops, and discussions, each highlighting the transformative potential of 3D printing in revolutionizing patient care. From advancements in clinical applications to insights into economic sustainability and regulatory clarity, the forum brought to light different issues in the ever-evolving landscape. As industry leaders and experts shared their knowledge and experiences, attendees were left inspired and empowered to drive positive change in their respective hospitals. Now, as we reflect on the forum, let us delve into five key takeaways that capture the essence of this groundbreaking event.

1. Flourishing community and collaborations

Hosting over 130 attendees from Europe, the US, and Australia, the forum highlighted the growing global presence of the 3D printing community in hospitals. Year after year, the community continues to expand, fostering a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing. Attendees experienced the maturation of collaborations, as evidenced, offering insights into the progress made over the past two years and outlining their vision for future projects. Their talk provided valuable updates on advancements within the field, while the workshop held on the second day offered all participants the opportunity to engage directly with SIG members and contribute to ongoing initiatives. Through these collaborative efforts, the community is driving forward innovation and increasing the implementation of 3d printing at the point of care.

Group of forum attendees together for the second day at the Materialise headquarters.
Forum attendees together for the second day at the Materialise headquarters.

2. Advancements in clinical applications

The forum showcased groundbreaking advancements in various clinical applications of 3D printing, ranging from complex hand surgeries to thoracoscopic left atrial appendage (LAA) closure and pediatric surgical interventions. Notable speakers like Dr. Frederik Verstreken (AZ Monica, Belgium), Sujaya Rao (MD Anderson, USA) or Dr. Juling Ong (Great Ormond Street Hospital, UK) provided deep insights into how 3D printing technology is revolutionizing surgical planning and execution, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes and enhanced precision in medical procedures.

Sujaya Rao and Dr. Juling Ong answering questions after their sessions.
Sujaya Rao and Dr. Juling Ong answering questions after their sessions.

3. Innovation and launch of new technologies

The forum offered a firsthand glimpse into the transformative potential of emerging technologies in healthcare, notably showcased in the talk by Dr. Renaat Coopman (UZ Gent, Belgium), who highlighted the CMF planning and printing possibilities enabled by the recently released Mimics Enlight CMF. The event also featured Núria Fernández-Poch (Parc Tauli Hospital, Spain), the 2024 winner of the prestigious Mimics Innovation Awards, introduced by Fried Vancraen (Founder and Board Chairman at Materialise), which celebrated groundbreaking research and advancements in the field of medical 3D printing.

Additionally, attendees had the opportunity to explore Form4B, the latest addition to Formlabs' printer lineup. Stratasys was also present among the exhibitors, adding to the vibrant atmosphere of innovation. Additionally, Materialise showcased pioneering technologies, including augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI), offering attendees an exciting glimpse into the forefront of medical innovation.

4. Regulatory clarity and Economic Sustainability of 3D Labs

An overarching theme of the event was the economic sustainability of 3D printing labs within hospital settings. Industry experts, including Eric Barreda-Prades (Verge de la Cinta Hospital, Spain) and Peter Metherall (Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS, UK), shared invaluable strategies for establishing and maintaining point-of-care labs, navigating funding challenges, and optimizing operational efficiency.

Discussions not only delved into the importance of cost-effectiveness and long-term viability but also addressed regulatory clarity surrounding 3D printing in hospitals. Many institutions, as highlighted by sessions led by experts like Maria Gloria Alvarez Caballero (A Coruña and Cee Health Area, Spain), have obtained ISO13485 certification, marking a significant step towards regulatory compliance.

5. Hands-on workshops and practical skills

Attendees were immersed in a series of hands-on workshops designed to equip them with practical skills and insights applicable to their roles within hospital settings. From Mimics Innovation Courses to Mimics Enlight CMF training sessions, participants had the opportunity to engage directly with industry-leading tools and experts. These workshops not only enhanced technical proficiency but also  continued to build connections between attendees.

3d-printing-hospitals-forum-attendees-live-training-mimics.jpg

In summary, the 3D Printing in Hospitals Forum 2024 provided a comprehensive exploration of the evolving landscape of 3D printing in healthcare. From breakthroughs in clinical applications to discussions on economic sustainability and regulatory clarity, the event served as a catalyst for collaboration, innovation, and positive change in the medical industry. Attendees departed with newfound knowledge and inspiration, empowered to drive forward the transformative potential of 3D printing in reshaping patient care and advancing medical innovation. As the Mimics Innovations Award winner Ferran Fillat says, “It is a good place to discover new ideas, insights, and applications that you can apply to your own patients.” See you next year!

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