A year ago, leading 3D printing solutions company Stratasys partnered with Altair Engineering and the University of Michigan Orthotics and Prosthetics Center to form the CYBER team, funded by America Makes. The team’s goal was to find a solution that would leverage both Industry 4.0 and 3D printing in order to make better Ankle Foot Orthotics for veterans who needed the custom devices. Many veterans have already benefited from Stratasys’ custom 3D printed prosthetics and orthotics, and thanks to a major initiative with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and several VA hospitals around the country, many more will continue to do so.
As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, Stratasys announced today that, together with the VA, it is launching one of the first collaborative 3D printing hospital networks in the US. The integrated network is designed to accelerate doctor preparedness, advance quality healthcare, and build collaborative best-practices.
“Our work with the VA exemplifies the tremendous difference additive manufacturing is making around the healthcare industry,” said R. Scott Rader, PhD, GM of Healthcare Solutions at Stratasys. “These solutions now make it possible to not only improve patient care, but set new standards for highly personalized solutions. 3D printing today is advancing healthcare in ways that would have been nearly impossible even a decade ago.”
According to its website, the Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated healthcare system in the US, serving 8.76 million veterans each year at its over 1,700 dedicated care sites. By introducing 3D printing technology to the network, it hopes to bring quality collaboration and knowledge-sharing practices to its hospitals, and the agreement between Stratasys and the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation (VACI) should help with that goal. The VACI finds, tests out, and evaluates approaches and initiatives to quickly and effectively meet veterans’ existing and future needs.
Arita Mattsoff, Head of CSR, Stratasys, said, “3D printing is expected to have a direct and often immediate impact on societal well-being – with innovation having the power to dramatically shape lives and communities for the better. With three decades of experience and a lifetime of 3D printing innovation, Stratasys is in a unique position to lead meaningful change across many important social causes.”
In an effort to increase doctor preparedness and surgical collaboration before surgery, as well as quality patient care, the goal of Stratasys’ CSR effort is to use 3D printing to bring about life-changing impacts for the people who need it the most, and to use medical and educational programs to benefit and teach underprivileged communities. Five VA hospitals across the country will be receiving 3D printers, printing materials, support, and training from Stratasys, in order to “encourage development of custom orthotics, prostheses, and anatomical models for personalized healthcare.”
“This 3D printing network is a significant step forward in how we approach patient treatments,” said radiologist Beth Ripley, MD, PhD, and leader of the VA initiative. “The technology not only enables 3D models of a patient’s unique anatomy for diagnosis and treatment, but can also be used to engineer personalized health solutions for Veterans – including prosthetics and assistive technologies.”
The initiative, in its initial stage of deployment will see Stratasys 3D printers installed at VA hospitals coast-to-coast, in:
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Orlando, Florida
- Puget Sound, Washington
- San Antonio, Texas
Discuss in the Stratasys forum at 3DPB.com.[Source/Images: Stratasys]