While 3D printing is becoming more widely used in general engineering the use of 3D printing in the medical and allied sectors such as dentistry has only just begun.
Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs have been awarded £272,000 to set up an online video technology service linking GPs with their elderly patients, in a bid to save £1 million.
The ‘Making Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) a Reality in Elderly Care’ scheme will allow selected GP practices and nursing and residential homes to use tablets loaded with audio visual programmes to create an extended network of primary care, mental health and palliative care staff, community pharmacists and geriatricians.
The initiative could help cut NHS costs by around £1 million over four years by reducing the number of emergency and paramedic calls and unnecessary GP visits and attendances at hospital, which will reduce the pressure on A&E and urgent care services.
Dave Sanzeri, head of Commissioning at Stoke on Trent & North Staffordshire CCGs, said: “Meeting the care needs and improving services for frail and elderly people through a new model of care is one of our CCGs’ highest priorities and this funding will allow us to harness the benefits of modern technology to provide better healthcare.
“Using this technology can improve health outcomes for patients and residents in care homes by offering their carers speedy access to extended expert primary care support, giving our patients effective care from integrated health teams.”
Dr Anil Sonnathi, GP and clinical lead for the project, added: "This initiative will allow bedside-based and 'at-the-point-of-care' consultations with remote clinicians and extended care teams to take place.
"Implementation will allow for the establishment of 'virtual wards' under the care of geriatricians working closely with the GP, saving valuable clinic time and improving health outcomes for patients."