IBM and RICOH Partner to make 3D Printed Medical Models More Accessible
01 June 2021: IBM Watson Health, the healthcare arm of technology consultancy IBM, has launched the latest version of IBM iConnect Access, the company’s diagnostic and medical image exchange platform.
Having recently partnered with digital services firm Ricoh USA, IBM has integrated the basis of a future 3D printing feature into its updated platform. Specifically, IBM iConnect Access users will soon be able to 3D print lifelike anatomical models using patient medical imaging data directly from the platform itself.
According to the partners, the jointly-developed end-to-end feature is ultimately intended to make 3D printing technology more accessible to the healthcare sector, all while simplifying the process of generating 3D printed anatomical models.
In healthcare, additive manufacturing is seeing increased use in everything from anatomical models to medical implants and surgical guides. Many medical centers and hospitals even have their own in-house 3D printing facilities.
“Today’s healthcare providers are handling more clinical data, from more devices, across a growing number of care settings, for larger populations,” explains Alok Gupta, General Manager at IBM Watson Health Imaging.
The anatomical models, in particular, are made even more valuable when combined with 3D scanning and X-ray technologies, as they can provide a far more accessible and individualized alternative to cadavers. By 3D printing these models and studying cases with a tangible, lifelike tool, surgeons can better prepare for upcoming invasive surgeries, increasing treatment success rates and saving lives.
IBM and Ricoh intend to further develop this feature in the near future, whereby healthcare providers will be able to 3D print anatomical models directly from the platform itself.