Grant Application

Anish Ghodadra, MD, Chad Dehmer, MHA, Nikhil Amesur, MD, and Rakesh Varma, MD,UPMC Presbyterian

Proposed Innovation

A major hurdle in shared decision making is the inability to communicate clearly and simply about a complex disease or its treatment options. Not only can this impede treatment planning, but it also can interfere with the ability of patients to fully understand and participate in their care.

The goal of this project is to establish a Radiology 3D printing program that can create patient-specific models for pre-procedure planning and practice. It also would be used to illustrate a patient’s disease and treatment options and improve the decision-making process.

Improvements in Action

Through this project, 3D printers will be purchased for use in a newly established, on-site 3D printing lab. Funds also will be used to train staff in creating 3D models. Although the ultimate goal is to provide models for all specialties, the project team initially will focus on creating models of the heart (for interventional cardiology procedures), liver (for cancer treatment and for living liver donor surgery planning), skull (for resident training and surgery planning), and bone (for fracture repair).

Results – In Progress

Surveys of attending physicians, residents, fellows, and patients will be used to assess the utility of the 3D printed anatomic models.

The 3D models are expected to provide unrivaled tools for preoperative planning. Not only will they improve physician understanding and confidence, but they also will help to educate residents and fellows on the nature of various procedures. Since the models can be used for patient education prior to procedures, they are also expected to decrease patient anxiety and improve understanding of their care. Having on-site printers also will allow for fast turnaround time and low cost production of models, making 3D printing viable in clinical settings.