Medical 3D printing registry | 3DMedNet

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Medical 3D printing will soon benefit from the first clinical data registry as the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA; IL, USA) and American College of Radiology (ACR; VI, USA) have announced a new opportunity for data collection at the point-of-care of clinical 3D printed models.  

A joint ACR-RSNA committee will reportedly govern the registry, with pilots scheduled for Autumn 2019.

“The creation of the joint RSNA-ACR 3D Printing Registry is essential for the advancement of clinical 3D printing. The registry will allow us to collect data in support of the appropriate use of this technology and its value in clinical decision making, and this collaboration between RSNA and ACR shows the importance of 3D printing to radiology,” explained William Weadock, Professor of radiology at the University of Michigan (MI, USA) and Chair of the RSNA 3D Printing Special Interest Group.

Information about the new registry follows a recent announcement confirming the release of four additional Category III Current Procedural Terminology™ (CPT) codes, effective from July 1 2019, for the use of medical 3D printing for the production and development of anatomic models and guides.

In practice, the registry should offer new opportunities in guiding analysis in the demonstration of clinical value of 3D printed models. Due to the diversity between cases, complexity of models and personalized approaches to individual patient conditions, a standard approach to determine clinical value of medical 3D printing across the board has been challenging, until now.

“Medical models and surgical guides have been 3D printed for well over a decade, as niche applications — and without CPT codes. For example, craniomaxillofacial care providers generally accept that 3D printing is valuable and integral to patient care,” added Frank Rybicki, Chair of the ACR Committee on Appropriateness Criteria and founding chair of the RSNA 3D Printing Special Interest Group. “However, when applying for CPT codes, it became clear that this ‘general acceptance’ lacked peer-reviewed literature to demonstrate value. This registry will supply data to benchmark the value of this subspecialty.”

“The RSNA 3D Printing Special Interest Group has brought together leaders from radiology practice and from the 3D printing industry to advance the science and applications of this important new technology,” continued Charles Kahn, Chair of the RSNA Radiology Informatics Committee. “The registry will help us understand the value that 3D printing can bring to clinical practice.”

The RSNA has explained that the medical 3D printing registry will be hosted by the ACR’s National Radiology Data Registry system, which currently supports six registries, more than 6,500 participant sites and over 150 million cases. Details about how to participate should shortly be available via the National Radiology Data Registry website:


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How is medical 3D printing related to radiology?

Medical 3D printing can be related to many different arms of radiology and medical physics but is mostly referenced in work related to the development of models and guides from imaging data. The ability to produce 3D physical models from 2D data offers an innovative way for displaying medical and diagnostic imaging, as well as aiding surgeons in preparing for surgical procedures and in simulation training.

Find out more about 3D printing in radiology and medical physics on 3DMedNet:

What is a clinical data registry?

A clinical data registry provides the opportunity for clinicians to store information about specific individuals, typically focused on a specific disease, condition or in this case, a technology. Information is provided on a voluntary basis and is usually supported, sponsored or governed by a larger body: a government agency, regulatory body or private company, for example.

In this case, the medical 3D printing registry is governed by a combined ACR-RSNA committee with the view to collect data for a ‘first-of-its-kind’ benchmarking exercise for determining the clinical value of medical clinical printing, specifically for anatomical models and guides.

Why is clinical data reporting important for 3D printing technologies?

Although medical 3D printing is no longer regarded as a ‘novel’ technology within medicine, there is currently very little standardized data to support the clinical value of medical 3D printing technologies. While many clinicians would agree that the future of healthcare lies in personalization and that medical 3D printing technologies offer a strong step in the right direction, a cumulative clinical data registry should, in theory, provide the data required to help a guide a ‘benchmark’ for the clinical value of 3D printed anatomical models and guides.

Have any additional questions about this story? Ask us in the comments, below.

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