RDM is defined as technology, systems and strategies that change the economics and organisation of manufacturing, particularly in relation to location and scale. Smaller-scale precision manufacturing can radically reduce supply chain costs, improve sustainability and tailor products to the needs of patients and consumers.
There are potential clinical, social and economic advantages if healthcare products could be prescribed, customised and manufactured within a single visit to the clinic or administered in the home, reducing the need to travel and undertake repeat visits. For example, it is of particular value to apply RDM to orthoses and prostheses for children, whose rapid growth and change often demands frequent revisions and alterations to devices.
Personalised medicine is estimated to grow to a €2 billion industry by 2018. The ability to provide devices supporting rapid diagnosis that allow for the best therapy for an individual patient to be rapidly determined will be a key part of the growth. RDM could underpin this enabling the provision of tailored, right-first-time treatments to all patients and it is imperative that a single vision of the research is created to position the UK at the forefront of healthcare manufacturing.
Clearly, RDM has the potential to improve and citizen wellbeing when applied to products such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and regenerative medical products (e.g. cell- and tissue-based therapies). However, the implementation of RDM carries wide ranging implications for industry, policy makers and healthcare service providers, for example: regulatory standards, new training patterns, social and inter-personal features, quality assurance and business structures, as well as customer-supplier relationships