Sunday, September 20, 2015

3D printing helps high-risk surgery in Brazil

China and the west have been constantly showing us how 3D printing makes life-threatening and complex procedures much safer. However, this is happening elsewhere too. A team of surgeons in Blumenau, South of Brazil, has used 3D printed medical models to increase the probability of success of a surgery on a six-year-old girl suffering from orbital hypertelorism.
It was a complex and high-risk operation because the doctors were forced to work in an area close to lots of vital organs and blood vessels. The team therefore decided to develop a 3D printed model of the girl’s skull in order to prepare for the surgery. The replica was also at hand during procedure and definitely contributed to the six-hour surgery’s success. One of the doctors explains. ‘After spending some hours studying the 3D printed skull, we practiced the crucial bone incisions on it and also used it as reference during the actual surgical procedure. Having a model to manipulate, as an addition to the imaging exams, was very important for the success of the final result.’
The surgeons were very satisfied with the 3D printing model and have already ordered the next one for a forthcoming spine reconstruction surgery, which will give the patient a few extra centimeters in height.
“MRI images and CT scans were used to make this medical model, which took 57 hours to 3D print. Finishing work to ensure complete accuracy took another 16 hours, and all the work was outsourced to the Brazilian-based 3D printing service bk3D. According to the company’s managing partner, this is just one of the ways in which 3D printing can be used to improve medical practices. ‘There are numerous possibilities for 3D printing to aid healthcare, from surgical procedure planning to the replacement of entire bioprinted organs. We still have a long way to go, but it is already possible to enjoy the benefits that engineering offers,’ he said.”

As 3D printing is already being used to save lives, we can only hope it will become common in every hospital around the globe.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How can device makers succeed in today’s transforming healthcare industry?

     The healthcare industry is moving toward an “outcomes-based, patient-centric, cost-conscious environment”. How will this change impact the healthcare manufacturers? What do they have to do to compete successfully, grow market share, and stay profitable? According to MDDI, there are three key factors to surviving in the transformed healthcare ecosystem.

1. Get Closer to the Patient, Get Smaller
Labs must extend its range to patients: point-of-care testing (POCT) is moving outside hospitals into the community as we are seeing patients and caregivers becoming more technology-empowered. This is driving demand for products that are: smaller, simpler while maintaining functionality and accuracy. Interfaces must be more intuitive for operators who may have minimal or no training. Device makers must also keep in mind how their equipment will maintain connectivity to the central lab and its data systems.
2. Big Data Analytics, Big Opportunity
Since the volume of healthcare data in increasing, manufacturers of diagnostic devices and lab systems have an opportunity to multiply the value of their products. Incorporating the right analytics can enable a extensive range of value-added competences. “Analytics can be used to streamline and improve processes—supporting better test utilization based on ordering patterns and faster throughput by analyzing workflows, for example. “
3. Business Model Innovation
To thrive in the new healthcare environment, clinical laboratory device makers need to focus their innovation investments on the business models, which will highlight the role of data as a generator of value. “While accuracy, ease of use, and affordability continue to be essential, a key differentiating factor will be how a product manages, distributes, and utilizes data to help improve and accelerate clinical decision-making.”

Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Prescription, has shown that being slow to react to disruptive changes in technology and embrace new market opportunities leads to failure. The dramatic changes impacting the healthcare marketplace are upon us—and the time to move forward is now.”