The costs of healthcare are only increasing, this is an unavoidable reality. We’ve got more people, more illness, and a larger drain on the healthcare infrastructure. The fact is the global healthcare infrastructure is overwhelmed, overworked, underfunded, and suffering.
However, there is lots of good happening in healthcare. The pressures placed on the supply and demand of healthcare services combined with the out-of-the-box thinkers that are looking for new ways to help people have resulted in some amazing technological advancements.
Enter 3D printing. This innovative technology has revolutionized the production and delivery of pretty much any type of object. With more and more people understanding how 3D printing can be manipulated and used, we’re seeing a move to true innovation daily. A quick Google search of 3D printing, for example, reveals how ubiquitous this technology has become.
One area where we’re seeing tremendous advancements is in that of healthcare. The ease-of-access of 3D printers, the growing understanding of what can be 3D printed, and the need for better tools, simulators, and solutions – are a huge plus for the healthcare sector. Despite its ubiquity, mastery of the material possibilities and the process can unlock new ways to deliver solutions. We have not tapped the potential of 3D printing to disrupt the way we deliver healthcare solutions.
3D Printing Our Health
This is not an exaggeration – today, our health can literally be 3D printed. From cells and structures with 3D bioprinting, to accessible and low-cost prosthetic limbs for children and adults, to organs that look and feel like the real thing, to affordable medical equipment – the options are limitless.
As you know, Radius is a human-centered design firm with a team of experts who are committed to seeing your ideas become a reality. At the core of this is in providing products, solutions, and innovations that make life better and easier for everyone.
This makes us extremely excited about 3D printing and what it means for solving the problems faced by the healthcare sector. There is incredible opportunity to use this technology to really contribute to solving the problems plaguing the worldwide healthcare sector. Everyone from newborn babies to medical students to researchers to management to those dealing with critical illness – all benefit from this innovation.
Because we’re so excited about how 3D printing is changing our health, we want to highlight some of the innovations that are true game changers in healthcare. Of course, we want to hear from you! Let us know on our Facebook page what you think are the most innovative applications of 3D printing in healthcare.
- Tumor models. 3D printed tumor models allow surgeons to better understand complex cases and create a surgical plan that can minimize risk and decrease the surgical time. Additionally, these tumor models allow researchers to understand how tumors develop, grow, and respond to anti-cancer medication.
- Body modeling. With complicated surgeries, such as those involving the brain, skull, or spine, surgeons need as much data and images possible to plan and execute a potentially life-saving operation. 3D printing of any part of our bodies – face, skin, skull, bones, or limbs allows surgeons to test their approach before the actual surgery. As Dr. John Meera of Boston Children’s Hospital said in a recent article about the 3D printing of a brain and cranium before surgery on a four-month old baby, “When you print out this model, it’s an amazing opportunity for me to actually look at the anatomy and look at the skull from different angles and actually have it in my hand and spin it around. It’s very critical in these kinds of cases. They’re rare, and each one is a little different, so you have to make a treatment plan just for these patients.” (vice.com)
- Organ modeling. For medical students, researchers, and scientists, being able to hold and feel an organ aids in all levels of learning and advancement. For medical students and surgeons, holding an organ that responds like a live organ, gives them the chance to experience what they will face during surgery. This understanding can lead to new less-invasive surgical approaches, improved surgical technique, and a realistic learning environment.
- Medical equipment. Particularly in surgeries in babies and children, often the equipment used can be too big and awkward for these small bodies. Now, with easier access to 3D printers, medical device providers and even surgeons can custom print medical equipment on a case-by-case basis. Smaller, more flexible, and innovative medical equipment can be easily produced, tested, and used in live settings with minimal time-to-market.
- Prosthetic limbs. Prosthetic limbs are expensive and take a long time to produce. Often, in the case of children, by the time the new hand is delivered, the child has outgrown the prosthetic limb. With 3D printing, not only is the time in which it takes to deliver this limb greatly reduced, so is the cost. To address these barriers, several not-for-profit groups have been created to focus solely in getting limbs to those who need them most. Many of these groups provide free tutorials, templates, and other resources to enable anyone with a need to print a prosthetic limb.
This brief snapshot of how 3D printing is and can change the state of healthcare is nothing short of revolutionary. Imagine what will be happening next year, in five years, and 10 years from now.
Be A Game Changer
It’s all about making a difference and seeing your idea come to reality. To do this properly and with maximum impact you need the support and expertise of the Radius team. From our human factors experts to expertise in medical devices and healthcare to our Low Volume Build solution – we have the knowledge, skills, and commitment to see your idea realized.
Be part of the good that is happening in healthcare and be a game changer – we’ll get your idea in the hands of those who can benefit from it the most. See your ideas transform into real outcomes that make a real difference. Innovation Realized. Outcomes Achieved.