The dialogue is changing today, in a healthy way, toward workflow and IT solutions that empower 3D printing programs. In fact, workflow advances are becoming as important as the printing technologies themselves.
3D Printing Workflow Advances and Cost Savings
Some of the most recent advances are seen in various DICOM-to-Print technologies, eliminating the need for multiple segmentation software solutions to be used. The introduction of complete end-to-end eCommerce solutions that can now provide everything you need directly from the printing portal include:
- Online segmentation services
- Simple "What You See Is What You Get" technologies
- Ability to print directly from image post processing and clinical interpretation systems
Each of these advances continues to improve the management of the per print costs. No longer is 3D printing about the materials or the cost per cubic centimeter. Now it is about access, simplicity, turn-around-time and achieving high volume as a print service. If this cannot be done in-house, then you must outsource to stay an innovator in your field. If it can be managed in-house, then success of a 3D printing program is tied directly to the onboarding of all these advances very strategically.
Merging of 3D Printing and IT workflows
Getting 3D printing embedded into healthcare systems requires two foundational things to be achieved:
- First, it must be accessible and simple enough that an inexpert user can access the services.
- Second, the fully-burdened cost per unit of output must be determinable, even when demand is less certain.
For the above reasons, 3D printing seems destined to become an IT managed service in the future. Expect to see a new generation of printer-agnostic workflow solutions that are needed to reduce the friction between supply and demand within health systems before adoption will become widespread.