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Occupational Therapy Department Incorporates Innovative Technology

Posted by Brian Spence on Oct 5, 2018 8:00:00 AM

3D Printer, Occupational Therapy, OT, Healthcare, Allied HealthThe Occupational Therapy program at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina uses cutting edge technology to manufacture items for patients with low income. Thanks to grant funding, the Occupational Therapy department purchased a 3D printer which they are using to print tools and devices such as pill boxes, medicine bottle openers, and button and zipper assist tools. The 3D printer allows the department to create items for less than a dollar, while the same items can be purchased for $30.

What are the Advantages of the New Technology?

This new technology in the OT department of WSSU is exciting for the professors and the students. This past summer they tested out the printer, figuring out what they can make with it. In the spring semester, students enrolled in a community care clinic class and will get trained on how to use the 3D printer. Then, the students will get the privilege of giving the products to their patients at the clinic. The clinic is free for low-income and uninsured people who live in the community.

The OT students benefit from learning how to use and implement new technology. The patients benefit from receiving a product they normally wouldn't be able to afford. The helpful products make the patients more independent. The act of creating and giving away the devices makes the students feel good about themselves and their job.

What are Future Goals of the OT Department?

The department hopes to someday print prosthetics on their 3D printer. So far they are finding the printer to be cost-efficient and time-efficient. The quality of the products is comparable to similar products being sold on the market. They can adjust the strength of the plastic if they design something that will be under more pressure. The department expects the printer to pay for itself in no time.

Are you interested in the field of Occupational Therapy? Using therapy skills to help people live a better life is a rewarding career. Please contact us to find out what positions are available.


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