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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Dr Atanu Chaudhuri

Chaudhuri, Atanu , Nasseraldin, Hussein Soberg, Peder Veng Krol, Ehud & Librus, Michael (2020). Should hospitals invest in customised on-demand 3D printing for surgeries? International Journal of Operations and Production Management 41(1): 55-62.

Author(s) from Durham


The purpose of this research is to (1) analyse the effect of customised on-demand 3DP on surgical flow time, its variability and clinical outcomes (2) provide a framework for hospitals to decide whether to invest in 3DP or to outsource.

The research design included interviews, workshops and field visits. Design science approach was used to analyse the impact of the 3D printing (3DP) interventions on specific outcomes and to develop frameworks for hospitals to invest in 3DP, which were validated through further interviews with stakeholders.

Evidence from this research shows that deploying customised on-demand 3DP can reduce surgical flow time and its variability while improving clinical outcomes. Such outcomes are obtained due to rapid development of the anatomical model and surgical guides along with precise cutting during surgery.

Research limitations/implications
We outline multiple opportunities for research on supply chain design and performance assessment for surgical 3DP. Further empirical research is needed to validate the results.

Practical implications
The decision to implement 3DP in hospitals or to engage service providers will require careful analysis of complexity, demand, lead-time criticality and a hospital's own objectives. Hospitals can follow different paths in adopting 3DP for surgeries depending on their context.

The operations and supply chain management community has researched on-demand distributed manufacturing for multiple industries. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper on customised on-demand 3DP for surgeries.