Fusetec: Taking medical training out of the 17th century and into the 21st century

Ever since human beings have arrived on this earth, humans have evolved constantly overpowering against all the odds. This nature of humans has helped them to survive over centuries. Moreover, with the evolution of humans, the medical field has also consistently evolved aiding to reduce all the previous shortcomings. Observing the transformation of the medical field, it is easily identifiable to address the kind of training and hard work it requires to overcome such odds. Now, with all the technological advancements, humans can perform all complex tasks with ease. However, the complexity also lies when one transfers the knowledge to another.

Medical professionals require a high amount of training. This training demands a precise level of accuracy. Naturally, the demand needs to be addressed by someone who understands the medical training in depth. Furthermore, traditional surgical training has been performed on living beings or cadavers which possess many risks and have many limitations.  Technology has now evolved to the point where it can now manufacture human body replication, to upskill surgeons without risk to all stakeholders.

Founded in 2017, Fusetec was one of the first to address the gap in surgical training. It is a revolutionizing company that focuses on medical training using advanced additive manufacturing of human body parts for use as teaching aids during surgical training. Body parts complete with realistic, anatomically accurate bone, skin, and muscle.

New Age Medical Training

Fusetec began its journey with the vision to become the world-leading provider of surgical and simulation training needs with globally recognized accreditation. Now, as a leader in the medical equipment supplier, it offers a range of medical devices that can be designed and manufactured to simulate specific pathology, such as tumors, broken bones, or defective heart valves, enabling students and surgeons to practice specific procedures. Originally, Fusetec manufactured surgical training devices to be exported around the globe to various universities and institutions, to be used at their leisure. However, with a shift towards online learning and digitalization in the global medical industry, it has begun offering online surgical training. Meaning, Fusetec offers its products locally to universities and surgeons in Australia who supervise the dissections of its products, and provide advice, online in real-time. The aim is to upskill residents, fellows, and surgeons around the globe.

By advancing training standards, Fusetec focuses on adhering to its mission to improve health care outcomes. Fusetec collaborates with highly respected medical professionals, institutions, and universities, continually evolving additive manufacturing technology and improving medical device applications. Besides, the company aims on manufacturing highly realistic human body parts for surgical training purposes. It manufactures body replicas in such a manner that it does not have any of the inherent risks associated with cadavers—there is no bacteria, no strict storage and disposal protocols, and no regulatory burdens. Its medical devices are mass-produced, affordable, and readily available with pathology on demand. Fusetec is taking medical training out of the 17th century and into the 21st century.

A Problem Solver

As a leader in the industry, Fusetec believes in embracing the opportunity to use the latest technology available and make Research & Development the foundation of its corporate culture. “We believe that within the next decade it may be possible to manufacture human organs for transplant and every aspect of our learning will get us one step closer to this quantum leap forward in healthcare,” states Mark Roe (CEO of Fusetec). Mark is a proficient Australian manufacturer who has an ample amount of experience in running several highly successful companies.

Initially, after spending his time researching in the US, he went to Stratasys in Minnesota and discovered the epicenter of 3D additive manufacturing. As an entrepreneur who is always looking to solve the problem, he wanted to bring the technology back to Australia. Once he was back, he considered the three major manufacturing industries in South Australia where he could apply the technology. These three industries were: aerospace, defence, and medical. He quickly landed on medical. “By opting to work in the medical industry, we could develop our own IP, with global applications,” he asserts. Hence, the journey of Fusetec was commenced. Currently, Mark is leading the management team and passionately drives its Research & Development team, collaborating with Universities, Medical professionals, and Government entities worldwide.

First Project

Generally, the initial part of any journey is full of uncertainties and challenges. Similarly, Fusetec’s initial days were more challenging as stressing on how to create a replicate human body tissue. Alongside, the founders’ Mark Roe and John Budgen (COO of Fusetec) noticed that there was a lengthy process and discovered that surgical training is one of the last frontiers in the world that utilizes an apprentice-style training model, rather than a systemized approach. This was solved by offering the world’s best tech and assembled the best R&D team it could find.

The company spent nearly three years in the R&D phase, developing and fine-tuning new knowledge, before its product launch in 2019. Utilizing the earlier knowledge learned during the first product development, the company now carries the same methods to all the latest products. Not only that, as a constant improvement process, the earlier models are also refined by leveraging the new knowledge developed.

Heeding to Urgency

Evidentially, COVID-19 has put immense pressure on the companies and industries. The pandemic has brought several challenges with itself causing havoc in its day-to-day business. A similar instant was experienced by Fusetec, its product was in high demand for several months till COVID reaped havoc on the business. Knowing the market acceptance, the team utilized the COVID shut down to develop new products for the post-COVID era. Mark believes that continuing development was one of the sound decisions which has positioned Fusetec to fulfill urgent market needs.

Apart from preparing for the post-COVID world, Fusetec was also working in minimizing the wrath of the pandemic. With the advent of COVID-19, the team swiftly re-strategize and retooled. Initially, the team extended the sinus trainer to the nasopharynx i.e., the trainers could now be utilized as a swab trainer and put aside for later dissection, at FESS courses.

Later, the team added two videos in conjunction with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital- Swab training video, 2 -Donning and Doffing video (how to properly put on and take off PPE to protect healthcare workers). Recognizing the demand for Face Shields, Fusetec also responded to the challenge by manufacturing over 250,000 face shields for its local community.

Comprehensive Plans for Future

Though 2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges, 2021 is outlining new opportunities and changes for healthcare. As a result, Fusetec is also preparing a comprehensive strategic plan for the future. Since the inception, the company has focused more on ENT products, however now it is looking to dominate other surgical disciplines like Neuro, Ortho, Gyno, etc. These new products are presenting new changes for the global healthcare industry. Fusetec’s vision is to become the world-leading provider of surgical and simulation training needs with globally recognized accreditation.

Quote: “We aim to improve health care outcomes by advancing training standards, while building a sustainable and profitable business that will inspire our stakeholders.”

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