Here at Document Capture, we have no doubt that research helps the world go round, and without adequate investment in research, we’d soon be at a technological standstill. Fortunately, there are people around the world, and in the healthcare profession in particular, who are inclined to agree with us.
In the last couple of years, one technological advance in particular has stood out as a potential boon for humanity: 3D printing. The technology works in a similar way to the laserjet printers you use in your offices and homes, only in three dimensions. Designers create three dimensional digital models using advanced computer software, and these are sent to the printers to be constructed. Unlike other manufacturing processes, 3D printers are an additive, rather than subtractive process. They lay down layer after layer of material until a strong, accurate and lightweight component has been produced. 3D printers are being used to produce performance car parts and other components for engineering purposes, but the latest research has suggested that the technology could be particularly useful in the healthcare profession, too.
Medical 3D Printers
Manufacturing body parts to be used as artificial implants is a particularly complicated process. The parts need to be as durable as possible so as to maximise their lifespan within the patients’ bodies, but also precise enough to perform a job previously fulfilled by a specialised organic mechanism. Furthermore, these implants need to be made of materials unlikely to react with, or be rejected by, the patients’ bodies themselves. With such specific and important criteria to fulfil, many researchers are increasingly encouraged by the success of 3D printing technologies in the production of artificial implants and prostheses.
Just look at some of the amazing applications of 3D printing that healthcare industry researchers have developed thus far. 3D printers have been used to create artificial blood vessels for use in organ transplants and artificial jaws to replace damaged bones and cartilage. It’s not just implants where 3D printers have proved their worth, either. 3D printers have been used to further healthcare research, too, with artificial bones being produced to help surgeons practice for complicated medical procedures. Healthcare researchers have even begun to produce customised prescription drugs using 3D printers, a step that may yet revolutionise the healthcare profession from the ground up.
Forging new healthcare solutions
Pioneering healthcare research is helping to change the face of medicine, patient care and even surgery, with the potential to drastically improve the lives of patients now and in the future. Gauging the success or failure of developments like 3D printing, and even perfecting the processes themselves, would be impossible without adequate data, and this is where we come in. If you’re looking to conduct a research project or improve processes in your healthcare institution, make the most of our flexible data capture solutions for the most accurate, reliable data possible.