From being a technical manager, a research assistant, a technical sales, and now an entrepreneur, Jacqui O Connor knows how to wear several hats.
She has a background in Chemistry and Biomedical Engineer and founded MedScan3D in 2019, providing patient specific 3D printed models with applications in medical device prototyping and testing, pre surgical planning and educational purposes.
Nora Touré: Jacqui, could you let us know briefly about your background and your journey into Additive Manufacturing?
Jacqui O Connor: I have a 1st class honours degree in Chemistry and a Master’s in biomedical engineering. My previous roles include working as a technical manager in a nutraceutical start up, research assistant in NUIG and a technical sales rep in an orthopeadic implant company for 5 years. My experience and academic background have given me a broad range of experience’s which I bring with me with my current venture as an entrepreneur.
I started MedScan3D in early 2019 while on maternity leave for the second time in 2 years. I was at the time working as a technical sales representative for the orthopaedic implant company, Smith and Nephew. During my 5 years working for them I got an insight to the healthcare system and the HCP requirements for safe and effective patient care.
My academic background is in biomedical engineering, where I developed my skills in research and development for biomaterials and medical devices. My husband James runs a successful 3D printing company, 3D Technology, providing 3D printers, maintenance, consumables and support to medium and large-scale companies.
While on leave I decided that I no longer wanted to return to my current sales role due to the unpredictability nature of the work, I wanted a better work life balance. So I began brainstorming, many times with James and with my medical sector background and his 3D printing knowledge we saw a gap in the market and MedScan3D was born.
I began by dipping my toe in and quickly we realised the idea had massive potential and there was an obvious demand, especially in the medical device sector. Less than a year in we large blue chip customers and we have been shortlisted in the Med-Tech Innovations Awards in the 3D printing sector.
Nora Touré: Tell us more: what is MedScan3D and what is the story behind it?
Jacqui O Connor: At MedScan3D, we specialise in printing highly accurate patient-specific 3D anatomical models from CT, MRI and CBCT scans. Our target user is any healthcare professionals, such as cardiologists, oncologists, surgeons – placing real anatomy in the hands of healthcare professionals reduce the patient’s risk and a more successful outcome is likely, with less unexpected issues arising in the theatre setting.
With a smoother procedure the time spent in theatre is reduced and this not only increases the patient’s safety it has an array of benefits from reduced costs and savings to the hospital which can be spent elsewhere, reduction in the patient waitlists, a more successful operation leads to reduced length of stay in the hospital which will in turn reduce the patients risks of infection and saving beds for the hospital, the working environment for the staff is calmer and more efficient and much more. These models can also be used for educational purposes for the team and for the patient in question.
Our models are not just for surgical planning they are also used by research engineers to provide test models for their medical devices. These medical models can be made in a variety of materials for applications in medical device prototyping and testing. Customizable medical models to suit a specific area which will optimize their testing procedures at all stages of device development.
The models are geometrically designed to withstand rigorous laboratory and field use for initial concept, product development, physician product testing, manufacturing quality assurance. For ongoing device testing we can provide personalized and generically designed silicone casted models (link to Silicone casted models). Developing the right testing model is of the utmost importance for getting an implant to its most optimal stage. This in turn will provide the surgeon with the best device for treating the patient in question.
MedScan3D streamlines what is normally a complicated process and provides a full turnkey solution, all in house. This provides a quick turnaround of customisable models with no 3D printing technology limitations – which meets the demands of fast paced R&D teams. Currently there is no other company that provides all aspects of medical scan conversion, CAD design adaptation and 3D printing of patient specific models.
There are companies that would do some of these processes but without the knowledge and demands of the specific research groups it would mean the customer would have to go to 3-5 separate companies to get the end-product. We pride ourselves on our consultancy basis and providing an extension to the R&D team.
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