AdventHealth spearheads effort to 3-D print face shields for health care workers

Female with Doctor

Fla., CELEBRATION, Fla., April 3, 2020 — As the number of COVID-19 cases rises around the country, health care systems are facing shortages of critical supplies to keep their workforce safe. Hospital leaders, including those at AdventHealth, are scouring the world for masks and other protective equipment.

But Jodi Fails didn’t have to look far. She simply turned to a 3-D printer at AdventHealth and found an innovative solution that will help create thousands of face shields for clinicians.

Fails, a product development engineer manager at the AdventHealth Nicholson Center prototype lab in Celebration, usually uses the 3-D printer to create and test novel devices for clinicians and external companies – like models of a patient’s hip or tools to help physicians during surgery.

“It’s an honor to be able to assist our team members as they fight this pandemic,” Fails said. “We may not be providing direct patient care, but through the lab we can help protect our colleagues on the front lines.”

Fails began researching and found designs for face shields created by her fellow 3-D community online. Much attention has focused on the need for surgical masks, but face shields – clear, curved pieces of plastic attached to a headband — are also vital and in short supply. Fails soon created a successful prototype.

Fails and the Nicholson Center team then enlisted the help of academic and industry partners to mass-produce the equipment. Companies large and small are taking part, including Universal Orlando Resort, Cimquest, Taz 3D and Out of This World Embroidery.

AdventHealth Nicholson Center is a leader in surgical education, with a focus on robotic surgical devices and procedures. The prototype lab allows physicians, researchers, engineers and other medical professionals to test and refine their ideas for medical-device innovation.

Production of the face shields is currently at 1,000 a week, with a preliminary goal of 20,000. The shields are being distributed to AdventHealth hospitals across Central Florida. And if more production partners join the efforts, those numbers could go up and help more clinicians.

The face-shield project is part of a broader AdventHealth effort to address shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re also looking at other supplies,” Fails said. “We’re working across care teams, with physicians and respiratory therapists, making lists of what could be a shortage and how we can find solutions for it.”