Industry partnership working to individualize patient care

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woman working on computer holding 3D printed model
CDME postdoctoral scholar Natalia von Windheim holding 3D anatomic model in M4's consultation lab

A research initiative by the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) and supported by medical device company KLS Martin Group is working to improve surgical planning and point of care (POC) manufacturing.

The Medical Modeling, Materials and Manufacturing (M4) Division at CDME works to support life-saving efforts of medical professionals by stimulating and centralizing research innovation around biomedical engineering, medical device development and clinical 3D printing.

KLS Martin Group is a globally leading supplier of medical technology solutions for almost all surgical fields. KLS Martin and M4 are collaborating to find ways to improve patient care by combining both industrial and academic knowledge, whether it be reaching new patient populations or creating an individualized medical device.

A key part of the research initiative is improving point of care manufacturing, meaning designing and manufacturing a personalized medical device for a patient onsite where they are receiving care. M4 has a consultation lab in The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) to give surgeons and patients direct access to the experts for surgical planning and medical device development. In the consultation lab, a KLS planning engineer is also working on site to help clinicians with planning.

"By bringing together industry, research, and medicine, we get to provide patients with the best possible medical care. It is rewarding to sit shoulder to shoulder with surgeons and virtually plan complex surgical procedures, provide individualized products and observe how KLS Martin plays a part in transforming someone's life,” said Jackie Palmer, KLS on-site planning engineer. “We look forward to exploring new ways this partnership will improve the standard of care."

Clinicians come to the consultation lab to discuss options in treatment for patient cases. KLS Martin and M4 then help build the next step in the treatment plan, whether it be creating a new medical device, printing a 3D anatomic model for surgical planning or working with a manufacturer to get a medical device to the patient.

“The relationship between KLS Martin and M4 has been a great collaboration where our team can learn from their expertise as a medical device manufacturer and where we can offer our perspectives in delivering products at the point of care,” said M4 Director Megan Malara, PhD. “I’ve seen direct benefit to our staff and our student employees in learning industry workflows and giving students the opportunity to see how their experience in M4 directly translates to industry and their future career.”

M4’s clinical service focuses on patient specific 3D printed anatomic models. 3D printed anatomic models lead to better health outcomes by optimizing surgical precision, increasing individualized care, decreasing operating time and making procedures more predictable. Using a patient’s scan, M4 can create a digital file and 3D print a color-coded model. Clinicians then can use the model for patient education prior to the procedure, plan a complex procedure before entering the operating room, or use it to guide the procedure intraoperatively.

By collocating resources with clinicians and patients, point of care manufacturing can speed up this process from weeks to days allowing patients to receive treatment faster.

M4 also works to improve point of care offerings to patients, so that they can be treated faster and more efficiently to improve healthcare outcomes. Point of care manufacturing benefits patients by meeting needs a traditional manufacturer cannot with more prompt delivery or with products otherwise not commercially available. The collaboration between M4 and KLS Martin leverages both institutions' strengths and is working on new processes and workflows to best deliver products for patients.

“KLS Martin is very happy to partner with The Ohio State University and specifically the team at M4 and their clinicians,” said Shawn Burke, vice president, KLS Martin North America. “We both possess unique skill sets and capabilities and this collaboration has helped us develop more efficient treatment pathways that highlight each of our key strengths.  From the student side, we are very happy to have them work as interns both on our Jacksonville Campus and also side-by-side in our POC efforts. It’s a natural transition for students to working in this collaboration to a permanent member of our team.” 

KLS Martin values workforce development for students, aligning with CDME’s mission to prepare students for post-graduation employment. Several CDME students have been able to intern with KLS, and a student will be starting as a full-time engineer after their graduation in May. KLS has also helped support a postdoctoral scholar, Natalia von Windheim, who spent six weeks at KLS’ facility in Jacksonville, Florida.

“Visiting KLS Martin Manufacturing gave me insight into the workflow behind producing a patient-matched device, from initial physician consultations to final inspection and shipping,” said von Windheim. “This experience was incredibly helpful towards our efforts to develop point-of-care processes at Ohio State, for building relationships with the team at KLS Martin, and for my personal career development.”

The M4 Division has primarily worked with the Department of Otolaryngology, but the collaboration with KLS Martin has expanded the reach of departments and offerings to patients. The M4 Division is expanding their capabilities in other medical specialties, including cardiothoracic surgery, orthopedics, plastic surgery and pulmonology.

Categories: ResearchIndustry