The above video segment features O&P practitioner Thomas J. Daley describing his experience with CAD/CAM during a Vorum Academy educational webinar in May 2017. Watch the entire educational webinar recording on the Vorum Academy.
Improved care, happier kids, increased efficiency.
Great Lakes Orthopedic Labs elevate their craft, delivering game-changing results to parents and children.
T.J. Daley led the switch to computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) at Great Lakes Orthopedic Labs to improve their patients’ experiences and keep the business viable in spite of falling reimbursement rates. 90% of their work is with children, which made the desire to eliminate the plaster-casting process especially strong: “I don’t know who found it more stressful: the child being wrapped up in plaster, or the parents,” states T.J.
T.J. committed 100% to the technology, reasoning that it was best to tackle the learning curve head-on if he was serious about getting results. The decision paid off. “The Vorum solution has completely changed our practice in just 6 months, and will only impact us more as time goes on.”
“A carver is a big investment for a clinic of our size, so we decided to engage one of Vorum’s central fabrication partners, Spinal Technology Inc., to do the carving for us. Initially we ordered molds from them and pulled plastic ourselves, but it quickly became clear that we could trust the superior accuracy of our digital designs and the quality of their service, and we now place orders for fabricated devices. With this new business model, we can deliver better care to more patients with the same staff. That’s very rewarding.”
T.J.’s rapid success inspired his colleagues to also make the switch to the digital world. “Previously, the plaster-casting process took us about an hour, and we then spent 3-4 hours creating and modifying a mold. Now, we scan the patient in 15 minutes, spend 30 minutes modifying the designs with Vorum’s Canfit computer-aided design software, then email the design file off to be carved,” T.J. explains. “That represents a 500% gain in productivity, allowing us to operate more profitably while increasing our business volume.”
Removing plaster from the measurement process has also made Great Lakes’ young patients and their parents much happier. “The process with the Vorum Spectra 3D scanner is easier and far less stressful,” he reflects. “Patient movements don’t matter, and—in the case of infant cranial scans—parents can hold and reassure their kids as they’re being scanned. Also, the accurate data and visuals from scans help us educate parents and give them confidence; we’re able to compare scans as the treatment progresses, and to see that we’re getting results.”
“When working with the design software, I can use visual aids such as x-ray overlays to guide my work. I can also make more aggressive and more precise modifications than when working with plaster. Complex, asymmetrical mods, such as Cheneau-style TLSO scoliosis braces, are now much easier. Armed with this higher level of design precision, we’re making better-fitting, more effective devices and seeing better patient outcomes,” he says.
In terms of further development, T.J. looks forward to exploring 3D printing options with Vorum over the next couple of years. He views pediatrics as an early opportunity to apply the technology. “The main challenges of 3D printing’s application to O&P are material limitations and print times, but pediatric devices are smaller and their material strength requirements are lower. I suspect that practitioners who work with kids will be among the first to take advantage of 3D printing.”
“Vorum has transformed our practice by enabling us to practice O&P at a higher level. It increases efficiency, and the technology really lets us deliver better results for our patients. I wish we’d made the switch earlier,” T.J. concludes.