Press Releases

CHEO successfully evaluates in-house 3D printing as a solution to save time and money

July 12, 2023

July 12, 2023 (Ottawa, ON) – Eager to implement innovative solutions to save time and money and better serve patients and families, CHEO, a leading pediatric healthcare and research centre in Ottawa, partnered with PolyUnity Tech Inc, a leader in Additive Manufacturing as a Service (AMaaS). With the support of OBIO® through its Early Adopter Health Network (EAHN™), they evaluated how a digital inventory and 3D printing solution could help solve supply chain issues. The solutions explored include printing replacement parts, repairing equipment and medical devices, and creating new product innovations across the CHEO organization (CHEO, CHEO Research Institute and CHEO Foundation).

CHEO wanted to understand if 3D printing could address the cost of managing multiple vendors, complex procurement processes, and the threat of future supply chain disruption to the local healthcare system. PolyUnity’s i3D.Health solution is a fully managed product design, digital inventory and 3D printing manufacturing solution that enables healthcare providers and their networks to design, access and produce what they need on demand.

The EAHN™-supported evaluation started in the fall of 2022 and engaged an impressive 29 departments across seven hospitals, including CHEO, with the involvement of over 110 active users. The results were remarkable, with more than 200 new innovations requested, 1,281 products successfully delivered, and 460 pieces of equipment repaired and returned to service. CHEO estimates that for every dollar spent, 28 dollars were saved when using the PolyUnity solution.

“Embracing transformative technologies like 3D printing is paramount in addressing the current challenges we face and ensuring the continued growth and resilience of our healthcare system,” said Dr. Jason Berman, Chief Executive Officer and Scientific Director, CHEO Research Institute, and Vice-President Research, CHEO. “EAHN™ played a pivotal role in facilitating the PolyUnity evaluation, granting CHEO invaluable insights into implementing innovative technologies like 3D printing as a solution within our organizations.”

A few examples of 3D printing solutions provided by PolyUnity include a critical attachment piece for hammock attaching to a specialized stretcher needed to transport patients by air, a test tube rack to increase efficiencies in the CHEO Research Institute labs, and a mask dispenser system to improve use of space and accessibility.

“PolyUnity’s quick turn-around time from idea to design and printing of the attachment piece for the stretcher hammock enabled me to work in parallel on other repairs, trusting that their team would develop a viable solution,” said Mark Heathcote, Technician, CHEO Clinical Engineering.

Following CHEO’s positive determination of value and a recommendation to proceed with a procurement process, OBIO’s EAHN™ program will now provide support to other healthcare organizations interested in the procurement of a fully managed 3D printing solution.

PolyUnity is at the forefront of bringing AMaaS and its associated benefits to the healthcare sector. Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, utilizes a computer-controlled process to create three-dimensional objects by depositing materials, typically layer by layer. By harnessing AMaaS, healthcare providers can leverage rapid and innovative product solutions while simultaneously reducing operational inefficiencies, driving down costs, and enhancing overall patient outcomes. AMaaS empowers healthcare professionals such as clinical engineers, doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists to swiftly transform problems into prototypes and commercial products.

“We’re asking our healthcare organizations to continuously do more with less. Innovation is critical to this and organizations, like CHEO, who embrace innovation will lead the country in delivering extraordinary value-based healthcare services. We’re so proud of the 200+ innovative products created in collaboration with CHEO’s team members and excited to continue creating more solutions together,” said Jacqueline Lee, CEO, PolyUnity.

PolyUnity’s i3D.Health web-based software serves as a hub for all digital product designs, housing a comprehensive product library and an ideas portal for future on-demand production through local/regional 3D print facilities. To date, PolyUnity has collaborated with healthcare partners to develop over 220 problem-solving non-medical and medical (Class 1) devices.

“The evaluation between PolyUnity and CHEO showcases how hospitals can effectively reduce costs and address supply-chain and procurement challenges through the implementation of a 3D printing solution,” said Dr. Maura Campbell, President and CEO of OBIO®. “By bringing a Newfoundland and Labrador-based company to the Ontario market, EAHN™ is advancing a pan-Canadian approach to facilitating adoption of cutting-edge Canadian technologies within our healthcare systems.”

About OBIO®

OBIO®, a not-for-profit, membership-based organization dedicated to advancing health technology innovation and commercialization, is prioritizing the evaluation of new technologies through their Early Adopter Health Network (EAHN™). OBIO® is engaged in strategy, programming, policy development and advocacy to further the commercialization of human health technologies, positioning Canada as a leader in the international marketplace.

For more information, please visit or contact Bibaswan Ghoshal, Director, Market Acceleration, OBIO®.

About CHEO

Dedicated to the best life for every child and youth, CHEO is a global leader in pediatric health care and research. Based in Ottawa, CHEO includes a hospital, children’s treatment centre, school and research institute, with satellite services located throughout Eastern Ontario. CHEO provides excellence in complex pediatric care, research and education. We are committed to partnering with families and the community to provide exceptional care — where, when and how it is needed. CHEO is a partner of the Kids Come First Health Team, a network of partners working to create a high quality, standardized and coordinated system for pediatric health care that is centred around children, youth and their families. Every year, CHEO helps more than 500,000 children and youth from Eastern Ontario, western Quebec, Nunavut and Northern Ontario.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Ruff, Director of Communications, CHEO Research Institute.

About PolyUnity Tech Inc.

PolyUnity is a Canadian healthcare technology company with a driving purpose to “Improve Healthcare Experiences.” Their mission is to partner with healthcare organizations and use agile manufacturing to provide efficient, less expensive solutions that reduce frustrations. PolyUnity’s i3D healthcare solution significantly reduces the cost and complexity of traditional healthcare procurement, builds supply chain resiliency and reduces its carbon footprint. It enables healthcare providers and their networks to design, access and produce what they need on-demand. Visit PolyUnity for more information and connect with us on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook.

For more information, please contact Mark Gillingham, President, PolyUnity Tech Inc.