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Delivering on our mission and building for our vision

08 February 2017



Our mission is simple - providing surgeons with easy access to 3D printing by bridging the gap between the technology and medicine.

On reflection, 2016 was a transformational year for axial3D. In this post (the first of many), I will summarize our greatest achievements of the last 12 months, touching on three main areas:

  • How we have invested in our approach and technology to better serve our customers
  • How we have expanded our team to continue on the road towards our vision of 3D printing in healthcare being as routine as CT/MRI imaging
  • How we have improved patient outcomes

How we have invested in our approach and technology to better serve our customers

I have witnessed 3D printing shape how surgeons approach and plan clinical pathways, transforming patient care for the better. Seeing the benefits of this technology drives our team to push the boundaries, rejecting the status quo in technology and customer experience, always striving for better

This year we have learned a great deal about what customers want and expect from 3D printing. Working directly with healthcare professionals all over the world, the benefits of the technology were apparent, but it was also abundantly clear that the method of accessing 3D printing must be seamless to facilitate integration with the standard clinical workflow. As we know, it is the role of the healthcare professional to treat patients with complex and often life-threatening injuries, not spend their time worrying about how to access the tools they need to deliver that treatment

Armed with a clear understanding of how healthcare professionals want to access our service, we launched our flagship solution axial3D insight an intuitive online tool that is used by hospitals across the globe. Our software facilitates the process of uploading a patient’s scans and requesting precise 3D prints. axial3D insight automatically generates on-screen 3D visualizations of the patients’ anatomy in seconds allowing a surgeon to interrogate and annotate the virtualization, prescribing their precise requirements for 3D printing. Making access to this technology efficient is at the forefront of everything we do. axial3D will continue to innovate so our customers can continue to focus on what matters – the patients.

This year, with the help of our customers, we have demonstrated that the combination of our 3D printed pre-operative planning models, accessed via axial3D insight, fit seamlessly into the workflow of a healthcare professional, significantly impacting clinical outcomes.

    How we have expanded our team

This year we have made a significant investment in our expanding team, securing new purpose-built 3D printing facilities in Belfast city center, and welcoming a number of new team members to the clan.

Every individual in our team plays a vital role in driving the business forward but, for the purposes of this post, I’d like to introduce three members of the Senior Leadership Team that joined in 2016.

axial3D Leadership Team [L-R]: Katie McKinley, Daniel Crawford, Niall Haslam and Cathy CoomberLeadership Team [L-R]: Katie McKinley, Daniel Crawford, Niall Haslam and Cathy Coomber"

Katie McKinley- Head of New Business and Partnerships - responsible for market strategy - managing relationships, driving revenue and expanding our network far beyond our core UK and Ireland client base.

Cathy Coomber – Operations Manager – leading the manufacturing team in our new 3D printing facility to manage the ever-increasing demand for 3D prints in healthcare, ensuring each customer gets their order, on time, every time!

Niall Haslam – Chief Technology Officer – driving the software development strategy for axial3D, pushing the boundaries on what is possible and bringing our most novel ideas to life.

In addition to the talent in the Senior Leadership Team, axial3D’s board of directors, made up of world-renowned advisors and entrepreneurs in both the software development and 3D printing space, are supporting the team in 2017. I am extremely excited for the year ahead.

  How we have improved patient outcomes

Looking back, (which is hard to find the time to do these days), the common thread in all that we do is our focus on improving patient outcomes. Two of the most inspiring cases that come to mind resulted in original clinical treatment plans being completely changed by the consultant’s additional insight following use of 3D printed models. In both cases, the patient’s lives were transformed.

Better diagnosis, drastic reduction in theatre time and optimum result for the patient: A young boy was admitted to the Ulster Hospital with an inability to rotate his arm. His Orthopedic Consultant, Mr. Michael Eames, had been assessing the need for an osteotomy (bone reforming surgery) based on the patient’s scans.

Both the patient and his parents were extremely apprehensive about the procedure. Mr. Eames approached us to gain greater insight into the injury. The tangible axial3D models of the boy’s radius and ulna allowed him to see that it wasn’t a bony problem restricting the patient’s ability to rotate his arm as indicated by the scans but instead a soft tissue issue between the bones. The model was used to explain the revised surgery to the family reducing the surgery time by over three hours with the patient gaining full movement and being discharged from hospital days before originally planned.  

Creating new treatments: Mr. Jim Ballard, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast, was presented with a patient who had a rare bone disease (osteogenesis imperfecta). This condition caused their bones to weaken and bow under the pressure of their body weight, requiring surgical support. A 2D CT scan of the patient was given to us from which we printed multiple 3D models of their pelvis and legs. Given that the patient was so young, a comprehensive plan had to be created in a timely manner. Using the 3D printed models, Mr. Ballard was able to ‘dry run’ the potential surgery in multiple ways and eventually created an entirely novel, improved surgical technique to treat the patient. Having tested the novel surgery in a consequence-free environment using the 3D printed models, Mr. Ballard was able to approach the actual surgery with complete confidence of its success.

Better Diagnosis

So I hope you agree - 2016 has been an incredible year for axial3D. We have improved access to 3D printing with axial3D insight, we have expanded our team, and witnessed first-hand the positive impact that 3D printing has on healthcare provision.

As we move into 2017, I can rest assured knowing we have the skills and determination to fulfill axial3D’s ultimate vision of 3D printing in healthcare being as routine as CT/MRI imaging - improving patient care across the globe!

Stay tuned!
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2016 was an incredible year for the company - we understand what we can do to help clinicians access the technology, we expanded our team, secured larger premises and witnessed first-hand the positive impact that 3D printing has on healthcare provision.