3D Printing Hospital Network to be Developed by VA

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A 3D printer manufacturer and the Department of Veterans Affairs are working together to create a 3D printing hospital network.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest integrated healthcare system in the US, is going to build a 3D printing hospital network. 3D printer manufacturer, Stratasys, will collaborate with the Center for Innovation at the VA to build this network.

This move is a big step towards boosting doctor preparedness and patient care. The 3D models will include custom orthotics, anatomical models, as well as prostheses. Stratasys will provide the VA with the training, 3D printers, and other material required for the job. The deal between the 3D printer manufacturer and the VA, a system that serves more than 8 million veterans annually, will change the way hospitals work.

The primary objective is to improve patient care and the methods used in surgery. Personalized treatment, which is something both the doctors and patients look for, will become a reality soon with this collaborative effort. The 3D printer technology will help the doctors create anatomical models that are more accurate and consistent with the patient’s diagnosis. This will enable the patients to understand their condition much better. Patient ambiguity is something this joint effort looks to eradicate, as it is a big obstacle in patient recovery and satisfaction.

3D printing is a rapidly growing technology. Digital models are created for any object using computer-aided design in the first step. This model is then cut into different layers, which the printer then builds layer by layer. This bottom up process helps build 3D items out of a printer. Currently, 3D printing helps the healthcare system by creating devices like scoliosis braces and hearing aids. Special headphones to monitor heart rate and oxygen levels can also be built using 3D printing.

As of now, the VA 3D printing network will be used in five hospitals which are in Boston, Albuquerque, Orlando, Seattle, and San Antonio. If the program is a success at these locations it will be expanded to other VA hospitals.

This isn’t the first time the VA has tapped into 3D printing technology. The Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Rehabilitation Institute at University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Pittsburgh, worked together last year. Their aim was to improve mobility functions for people suffering from lost limbs or injuries to their spine. Additionally, this isn’t the first time the VA has tried to develop better healthcare facilities. They have previously worked with the Department of Defense and National Cancer Institute to create a screening program. This was aimed at providing personalized cancer treatment for patients.

The collaborative effort between VA and Stratasys is a big leap towards using innovative technology in the healthcare sector.

Warning; 3D printers should never be left unattended. They can pose a firesafety hazard.