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Ricoh Partners with Materialise to Enhance 3D Printing in Hospitals

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Ricoh (TYO: 7752) announced a partnership with Materialise (Nasdaq: MTLS) at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2023 event. This collaboration aims to make 3D printing more accessible and efficient in hospitals nationwide, focusing on patient-specific healthcare solutions.

At the forefront of this initiative is Ricoh 3D for Healthcare, a HIPAA-compliant and ISO 13485-certified medical manufacturing center. It offers a comprehensive solution for developing, designing, and producing 3D printed anatomic models. The partnership between Ricoh and Materialise is specifically designed to help hospitals either start their own on-site 3D printing facilities or expand existing ones, making these advanced healthcare services more affordable and accessible.

New horizons in healthcare

A key objective of Ricoh’s partnership with Materialise is to make specialized, patient-focused surgical innovations available on a larger scale. Ricoh wants to simplify the process and reduce the costs for hospitals to participate in point-of-care manufacturing without the need to undergo the complex process of becoming FDA (Food & Drug Administration)-registered medical device manufacturers or manage intricate regulatory and administrative tasks.

Ricoh 3D for healthcare workflow. Image courtesy of Ricoh.

Materialise will be crucial in this partnership by bringing its expertise in 3D printing software solutions. These tools actively enhance the user experience and support Ricoh’s mission to provide broad access to significant medical tools, like customized anatomic models. The collaboration with Materialise is expected to increase the availability and capabilities of point-of-care 3D printing services throughout the country.

“Outside of large academic medical centers, physician and patient access to 3D printing applications has been limited,” said Bryan Crutchfield, vice president and general manager of Materialise North America. “This is often due to a lack of resources and technical knowledge to implement and operationalize the technology in the hospital environment. This partnership with Ricoh brings a large managed services infrastructure, which will enable hospital systems to more quickly and affordably implement and scale 3D technology for their physicians and patients. We are excited to partner with Ricoh to bring our end-to-end software platforms to support 3D planning and 3D printing applications at the Point of Care.”

Collaborative efforts

In addition to its partnership with Materialise, Ricoh is engaging in other strategic alliances to enhance the role of 3D printing in healthcare. These include an extended collaboration with Merge by Merative, known for its flexible imaging solutions, and a strategic partnership with Stratasys (Nasdaq: SSYS). These collaborations are essential to expand the availability of 3D printed medical models and optimize the workflow for healthcare providers.

Specifically, Ricoh is working with them to streamline access to the Ricoh 3D for Healthcare Platform. This includes the introduction of a new Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Print Gateway, which incorporates a user-friendly “Send to RICOH 3D” button for use with various Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) viewers. This innovation simplifies the transfer of DICOM studies to a secure, cloud-based archive. It integrates with the Ricoh 3D for Healthcare Case Management Portal to assist in case management with the clinical team. Such developments are pivotal in making Ricoh’s advanced 3D healthcare solutions more widely available to clinicians and patients.

Furthermore, Ricoh is methodically integrating point-of-care manufacturing into healthcare systems across the nation. This phased approach aims to establish a nationwide network for collaboration and knowledge sharing among healthcare systems. Currently, Ricoh supports thousands of healthcare organizations, including nine out of eleven of the largest for-profit hospital systems and 22 out of 32 of the largest nonprofit hospital systems, with about 3,200 facilities under its support – and is also responsible for managing over one million devices in the United States through more than 2,100 field technicians across various industries.

Healthcare leap

The FDA has granted Ricoh 3D for Healthcare 510(k) clearances for patient-specific anatomic modeling for various diagnostic purposes. These clearances allow Ricoh to support a broader range of surgical specialties and patient diagnoses, thereby increasing the accessibility of high-quality 3D anatomic models.

This move between Ricoh and Materialise marks a significant change in healthcare, focusing on 3D printing. This could lead to new ways of treating patients and change the way we make medical tools, personalizing treatments and improving surgeries. As 3D printing becomes more common in hospitals, it could open up new possibilities in healthcare, showing how new technologies can make a difference in how they look after patients’ health.

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