Brian Overshiner can produce almost any healthcare-related document.
INDIANAPOLIS — 3D-printing technology has been used to create toys, decor and even building musical instruments, but IU Health has found a way to use the technology to improve patient care.
Brian Overshiner (IU Health 3D innovation lab manager) said, “We can basically personalize medication.”
Overshiner is hidden away in University Hospital and keeps an eye on what his 3D printers produce. Overshiner was a radiation therapist for over a decade before he discovered his passion for printing.
“I treated cancer patients for a decade and a half, and 3D printing was a personal hobby of mine that I picked up,” Overshiner said.
His first venture was to print parts and pieces for his work. It has grown to a full-fledged 3D lab over the years.
He can now print nearly any medical document the healthcare system might need.
Overshiner stated, “So we can create the anatomy of patients so surgeons can pre-plan their complex surgery cases before going into the operating room.” “Everything, from mobility aids to rehab patients to prototypes that will be used by school of medicine researchers.”
They’ve expanded and grown since 2017 to the lab they now have, which has multiple printers and materials that are constantly in use.
Overshiner stated, “We can tailor treatment devices specifically to patients.”
He’s able, thanks to their 3D printing expertise, to create models which can be printed and show defects in the heart. This will help educate their healthcare staff.
Heather Humphery is a nursing professional development specialist at Riley Hospital for Children. She stated that while we can see and read and look at photos or videos, it takes something more to make that piece work.
Humphery stated that children’s hearts are smaller than their fists and sometimes no bigger than a strawberry. These large, 3D-printed models can be used to show parents what kind of heart defect or other health problems their child has. This is a crucial way for doctors and nurses to communicate with patients about health concerns.
Humphery stated that light bulbs “go on very, very quickly.”
“Just looking at it, you can see where that hole is, and what might be required to close it,” explained Dr. Jyoti Paltel, Riley’s pediatric cardiacologist.
Patel stated that switching from pen and paper to 3D modeling has enabled them to show parents what type of problem their child is having.
Patel stated, “You can see that there actually is a hole between the bottom two chambers, which is an interesting concept that is sometimes difficult to grasp.”
Over the years, 3D models have become an important part of the care IU Health provides.
Humphery said, “They’ve given me a piece that I would not want to be without moving forward.”
Overshiner stated that the lab has been a leader in the Midwest for five years and that they have improved patient care.
They have seen the benefits firsthand. Overshiner stated that patients have told us that it is the first time they’ve understood their condition in five years. “They actually have a visual representation that’s easier to understand.”
Overshiner believes that 3D models will have a huge impact on healthcare over the next few years, as technology continues to improve and advance.
“It has so much more potential. Overshiner stated that we are only scratching the surface.