VA Embraces 3D for PPE

Recurring shortages of masks, gowns and gloves prompts agency to turn to advanced technology for essential products

November 17, 2020

COVID-19 continues to create immense challenges for hospitals and nursing homes nationwide, from undermining ideas for new revenues to prompting constant changes in activities and operations. Unfortunately, one challenge now facing hospitals nationwide is the same one that plagued them in the earliest days of the pandemic last spring – shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) – including masks, gloves and gowns.

Now, as managers nationwide develop strategies to address this ongoing issue, one major player in the market is turning to the newest of technologies for a solution – 3D printing.

The Veterans Health Administration is looking to form medical device manufacturing facilities inside its hospitals to steer the production of health-related instruments from when they first emerge through to the point when they’re cleared for use, according to Nextgov.

Additive manufacturing solutions provider 3D Systems recently announced that it’s linked up with the federal agency to advance the effort. 3D Systems engineers and sells 3D printing software, hardware, services, and materials. Its co-founder is credited with first inventing stereolithography, a form of 3D printing.

When COVID-19 hit, the agency also helped launch a government-led 3D-printing partnership to make personal protective equipment-type designs and other medical supplies as supply chains were dangerously disrupted by the pandemic. 


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