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‘DIY’cision making in medical 3D printing


Katie McKinley, our Head of Partnerships, gives us her thoughts on how to evaluate when to go it alone, and when to bring in the experts. A technique you can use whether you're implementing a 3D print lab in a hospital, or taking on projects at home... it's called 'DIY'cision making.

Between buying a new home which requires a significant amount of renovation at the end of last year, and being an avid DIY-er, 2019 has brought me the excitement of a new project! However, it’s also brought the realization that although there are many jobs I would love to tackle myself, often for one reason or another, I cannot. Each day I think ‘could I just do this myself?’ (the answer is generally ‘no!’)... but this got me thinking of the age-old quandary ‘buy versus build’ that comes up again and again in both my personal and professional life.

Spending the last two years working with globally renowned surgeons, radiologists and engineers, I have come to realize that they all are faced with this exact dilemma, and in my world, it is specifically focused on segmentation and 3D printing. 2019 is set to be a hugely exciting time in the world of medical 3D printing, most notably with the American Medical Association announcing category III CPT codes will be effective from July 1st; but this also raises questions from many healthcare leaders about how they can cost-effectively introduce or scale 3D printing.

As 3D printing gains momentum in the healthcare industry and healthcare providers are either scaling their efforts, or just beginning to make the services available to their staff and service users they must carefully weigh up allocating their existing staff to pick up the tasks, or by making use of external service providers. At axial3D, our vision is that all surgeons will have access to medical 3D printing, regardless of specialty or location. And, whether hospitals decide to do it themselves or use a service provider, our aim is to streamline and support that workflow.

We work with leading point of care 3D printing labs to support data management and lab tracking, we deploy and manage on-site 3D print labs in hospitals to take the headache away from local teams, and we also manage a remote segmentation and printing service, shipping across the world.

So, how can I help?

With a ‘DIY-cision tree’ of course. This process has enabled me to ensure not only that my home is professionally wired by an electrician, but also that my work colleagues at axial3D are supported by experts in their field, both internally and externally. Equally, it ensures we maintain and develop skills which we feel are central to what we offer. I hope this proves useful for those of you in the ‘Buy versus Build’ bind. Thinking about ‘Image Segmentation’, ‘3D Printing for x application’ or ‘Setting up a 3D Print Lab’, simply walk through the decision tree for you and your team. I’ve used this with customers over the last few months, and it has really proved useful to take a step back and think through how to take the next step. Those I work with are experts in their field, but quite often it is simply about understanding the most effective planning of time, energy and focus.

The key is in balancing skills with requirements against the available resources, and this might help during those evaluations.

Click here to download Katie's 'DIY'cision Tree

If the next step in your 3D printing journey is to utilize external support, whether it's to deliver 24-hour segmentation, 48-hour 3D printing, or to get support in establishing a 3D print lab in your hospital, we can help. Likewise, if you are planning to build or grow your in-house 3D printing lab and addressing the need to track the data for the new CPT code usage we can arrange a demo of our axial3Dassure software.

If you’re not sure where to start off, or just want to discuss your options, feel free to schedule a short meeting with me here. I’d be delighted to talk through the various options with you.


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