Long used for prototyping, new innovations and materials have transformed 3D printing, also called advanced or additive manufacturing, into an integral component of the federal government’s supply chain.
At the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, Dr. Beth Ripley directs the Veterans Health Administration 3D Printing Network, leading the charge to revolutionize healthcare through 3D printing and manufacturing.
Eight years ago, the VA had just two 3D printing sites; today that number is up to 33. Initially, the program focused on producing assistive technology products for the masses, such as devices that attached to prosthetics to improve mobility. Team members now integrate personal medical imaging data into product designs.
“It’s not just anatomy, it’s your anatomy,” Ripley says. “That opens up a whole new world of innovations and understanding about the…