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3D Printing Hand Orthotics at the Veteran's Health Administration (VHA)

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Over the past few years the Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) has been evaluating surface scanning, CAD tools, and 3D printing technologies to assess their ability to be implemented into a clinical setting and improve clinical services. The creation of custom hand orthotics is an example of a clinical application that has been looking to these new technologies with the hope of making improvements to the clinical service outcomes.  During this presentation we will be sharing which emerging technologies the VHA is evaluating for the creation of custom hand orthotics, the general workflow for using these technologies when creating a custom hand orthotic, the benefits of implementing these technologies into the standard fabrication process, and the lessons learned from our experience. Case studies will be presented demonstrating specifically which of technologies were used, what advantages and disadvantages were observed, and what improvements we still hope to make in the future. It is obvious that 3D printed custom hand orthotics have a lot of practical benefits in the VHA clinical setting, and through our experience, are preferred from their Veteran users. From the experience we have gained assessing these technologies for this application, we hope to implement them as efficiently as possible.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn one workflow option used to create a fully 3D printed custom hand orthotics
  • Realize the benefits of utilizing 3D printing and surface scanning technologies for assisting in the fabrication of custom hand orthotics
  • Become aware of the challenges of integrating 3D printed custom hand braces, and similar orthotics, into standard clinical care