How VR & 3D Printing Are Making Hospitals More Efficient

How VR & 3D Printing Are Making Hospitals More Efficient

A virtual experience developed by Doctors Without Borders lets people explore future buildings

Doctors Without Borders has developed a way to use 3D printing and virtual reality technology in order to better design its hospitals, improving how they meet the needs of both the patients and staff.


As a proof of concept, existing plans for a hospital built in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 were digitally converted. The facility was then 3D printed and a VR experience was developed in a game engine that generates a virtual world. Inside this world, users can navigate through the building using a virtual reality headset and game pad.

Making use of these technologies is a different approach to developing a hospital, as Doctors Without Borders’ medical and logistical teams usually work together to draft 2D drawings before the building work begins. These new tools will ensure doctors on the ground have facilities that are best designed for the local environment, and will also help training by demonstrating exactly what a hospital can do before a doctor starts working there.


In the near future, 3D models could be sent digitally anywhere in the world and viewed on any web browser for staff to evaluate the design before it is built. This will ensure the facility is designed in a way that is most efficient and effective for doctors and patients. Doctors Without Borders’ director of logistics, Jean Pletinckx, said in a press release:

“Such technologies will undoubtedly make discussions more efficient, more vivid and more graphic. They will allow people to really see themselves inside our future hospital and this will improve hospital design as well as training and briefings. It will also allow our partners, like local ministries of health, to better understand what we can provide and better feedback on our suggestions… As the project develops further, it will be possible to create a dynamic environment, simulating patient and staff movements. We are at a stage now where our staff will really be able to feel or see what they will face in the field before they leave and indeed, even before the structure is built. There is no doubt that this is the way we will work in the future.”

You can check out the 3D printing and virtual reality technology in the video below:

Doctors Without Borders

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