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Upcoming SME conference “Building Evidence for Medical 3D Printing Applications in Medicine” will be forum to discuss future of medical 3D printing




SME is holding an inaugural conference in about a week and a half, titled “Building Evidence for 3D Printing Applications in Medicine.” It’s sponsored by Materialize, a company that develops software for 3D printing and produces 3D-printed projects for researchers, clinicians, and consumers.


This is a crucial topic for doctors, patients, and the medical 3D printing industry. 3D printing will not be widely accepted in the clinic without compelling, systematic evidence that it is better than existing technologies and improves outcomes for patients. This type of evidence is also needed to gain reimbursement approval from insurance companies.


According to a blog post on the Materialize website for hospitals, the goal of the conference is to “work on a common set of guidelines regarding methodologies and assessment methods” for gathering clinical evidence of outcomes of the use of 3D printing in medicine.


Because each device manufactured by 3D printing is different, and the planning stage has a great impact on the outcome, the problem of developing standardized guidelines for collecting clinical evidence is challenging. As we’ve seen here at Embodi3D.com, the promise of 3D printing to help a great number of patients makes this problem worth pursuing.


One of the speakers in the following video, Andy Christensen, a business strategist for medical devices, 3D printing, and medical imaging, gets into the specifics of what types of evidence will be needed, “In medicine, the evidence 3D printing technologies should focus on gathering, will include things like overall patient outcomes, the invasiveness of the procedure, the total cost of the procedure, and things like revision rates for surgeries or other procedures. Now, while some of these are fairly easy, some of these may be fairly difficult to gather, and I think that’s a good reason a collaborative effort to gather information will be best.” Developing a collaborative effort to gather information is the goal of the conference.



Over two days, the conference will feature the clinical, engineering, and economic perspectives on the major thrusts of medical 3D printing: 3D printed anatomical models, 3D printed instruments and surgical guides, and 3D printed patient-specific implants. There will be many opportunities for discussion. Representatives from government agencies, the FDA and NIH, will join industry and clinical professionals to share their thoughts.


This initiative is part of the SME Medical Manufacturing Innovations Program (MMI) and the group will organize ongoing discussions online.


The conference will be co-located with RAPID, the annual SME 3D-printing conference, so that people can conveniently attend both. RAPID will of course also have many sessions on 3D printing for medical applications.


There’s still time to register to attend the RAPID conference held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, on May 16-19. The “Building Evidence for 3D Printing Applications in Medicine” conference was only open to supporters and people significantly involved in 3D printing with relevant perspectives, through an application process. Embodi3D.com will continue to follow the outcomes of this highly relevant conference.


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