Interview: Mr. Shannon Walters

“ Trust, Scalability, and Data management will be significant to the future of medical 3D Printing.”

3DHEALS had the opportunity to interview the executive manager, Mr. Shannon Walters, of 3D and quantitative imaging lab at Stanford University on his vision of the current state and future challenges in health care 3D printing.

Influencer Bio:

Shannon Walters navigates this world with a passion for seeking practical applications of knowledge and technology. As Executive Manager at the 3D Quantitative and Imaging Laboratory, he applies this passion in the medical image-processing realm. With an educational background in Radiology Management and Information Systems, he regularly links the needs of clinicians/radiologist to the capabilities of technologists. With more than ten years of experience with 3D Imaging, Shannon has a unique perspective regarding 3D Imaging software and 3D Printing. Mr. Shannon will also be a speaker at 3DHEALS2017 conference to share his experiences with 3D printing at Stanford.

Q: What is your vision on the intersection of 3D Printing and healthcare?

A: I believe that this intersection is fuzzy, meaning that similar to 3D visualization adoption will be spotty at first, but coalesce into something more solid as evidence supports the investments that we make now.

Q: What do you specialize in? What is your passion?

A: I specialize in 3D Imaging and have been working 100% in that field for ten years now. My passion is to find practical solutions to clinical and technological challenges.

Q. What inspired you to do what you do?

A: Since I was a child, I knew I would be working with medicine and computers. I want to help people above all else; whether it be patients, physicians, technologists.

Q: What is the biggest potential impact you see 3D printing (or bioprinting) having on the healthcare industry?

A: Trust. The concept of “Measure twice, cut once” will resonate with the patient community. Patients will trust caregivers more when they know and see that they have truly been provided individualized planning and consideration.

Q: What are the major challenges to implementing a new technology in a large healthcare organization?

A: Scalability. We need to have the right people doing the right part of this process with efficient and realistic resources. Ask yourself, could I accommodate 10x my current volume? If the answer is no, that needs to be addressed as a systems design issue. Also; cost is a significant concern; we need to be cognizant that the value is demonstrated at all times.

Q: What challenges do you see arising in implementing 3D printing (or bioprinting) in the healthcare sector in the next five years?

A: Many companies tried 3D Printing, perhaps through software vendors to begin with. Some of those companies gave up on 3D Printing because they find out that it’s not a plug-and-play option at this point. Improved software and data management are essential. Patients will start requesting and expecting 3D Printing at various locations.

Q: What is the best business lesson you have learned?

A: The most expensive aspect to date for us is labor. Setting a pricing model must include consideration for the end-to-end process; from print requirement gathering to delivery and quality checks. Many people are interested, but not many have authority to deliver funding.

Q: What is the biggest business risk you have taken?

A: Regarding 3D Printing, we have dedicated half of an entire technologists time to 3D Printing and hired a 3D Printing Technician.