Let the 3D Print Revolution Begin by Calvin Mitchell
By now we’ve all heard stories about how 3D Printers are “revolutionary” products with the ability to “disrupt” entire industries. But to most, this still seems like science fiction.
Science fiction met Science Fact at the Radiation Therapy Department at the Fraser Valley Cancer Centre recently, as the department embraced a 3D Printing technology application to the betterment of our radiation therapy patients.
Radiation Therapy utilizes moulds and masks to ensure that a patient’s body is in the exact same spot every time it undergoes radiotherapy. Usually these moulds are created around the head, neck, and breast areas. The old process to create these moulds involved multiple days and visits by the patient and could take more than a week to process a single mould. There was time required for consultation, scanning, plaster, manufacturing, and even shipping. If the mould was not created properly, this process might need to start over again, thus creating more delays and wasting even more precious time. When time is of the essence, these delays could literally mean the difference between life and death, or undue stress, to our cancer patients.
The Radiation Therapy Department at Fraser Valley Cancer Centre (FVCC) learned about a 3D Print solution to eliminate the time required to create these masks and moulds, and reached out to our Managed Print Services partner – PrinterWorks (a WBM company) – to help guide them through the entire process. After a consultation and a thorough testing of multiple products and filaments, the Radiation Department settled on a product that would fit the requirements of the Radiation Department, while simultaneously utilizing existing operating budget to fund the entire solution.
Now, by using the newly installed 3D Printer, the Radiation Therapy Department can create these moulds and masks on-site and on-demand – 24/7. No longer does the patient need to endure the uncomfortable process of creating a mould and wait for a week to see if the mould was created properly. The FVCC now has the ability to create moulds on-demand and begin patient treatment the very next day. Additionally, by eliminating the costly and manually intensive exercises of plastering, manufacturing and shipping, the new masks cost a mere fraction of what is used to cost to create the old masks and moulds.
This is technology at its finest. This is also Managed Print at its finest: utilizing our expert partner to source the right product for the right environment via a consultative process, allowing our partner to find innovative and inexpensive ways to procure the products, and having peace of mind by knowing that the all service and consumables will be supported by our partner throughout the lifecycle of the product.
PrinterWorks (a WBM company) is a proud partner of the PHSA and revels in finding creative ways to utilize technology to better the lives of our users.