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Ambient Experience helps soothe patients for successful scans

Best Practice
MRI NetForum Team Philips Healthcare • Netherlands

Ambient Experience (AE) lets patients choose an environment for their exams, with lighting, pictures and music to calm their anxieties and give them a sense of control over an otherwise uncontrollable situation. At Winter Park Memorial Hospital, a Florida Hospital, (Winter Park, Florida, USA) and Kosair Children's Hospital (Louisville, Kentucky, USA) AE is helping both patients and technologists have positive MR scan experiences.

 Elise MacCarroll
Winter Park Memorial Hospital
Elise MacCarroll Winter Park Memorial Hospital

Sites are using AE to give pediatric and adult patients a sense of control during MR exams

Elise MacCarroll, Director of Ancillary Services at Winter Park Memorial Hospital, reports that the facility scans 10 to 15 patients a day on a Panorama HFO, and uses AE for all types of scans.

"AE gives patients more control; it lets them make a choice. Many are anxious or have never had an MRI, but when they choose their own scanning environment, it takes their mind off the exam itself and puts them at ease."

The hospital's scan room was designed by a Philips Ambient Experience team and is completely clutter-free. "All you see is the scanner, which is almost a work of art with AE," says Ms. MacCarroll. "Our patients love that they can fill the whole room with colors, images, music. And our techs are happy because it calms the patients, so they often have less need for sedation."

AE a great marketing tool

Winter Park Memorial Hospital's recent promotion campaign targeting patients was centered on AE. "Our number of scans increased 150% the first year," she says. "I always tell people that AE allows you to market your MRI. Consumers often don't know the difference between the many modalities of imaging, but when they know they have to have an MRI, and they have an option of choosing their environment, it just changes the whole game."

Overall, Winter Park Memorial Hospital has had a very good experience with AE. "It's a very beneficial thing for the hospital, a wonderful tool for our patients and techs, and a positive return on our investment. You can't ask for more than that."

AE and KittenScanner help nervous children and parents

20 children a week on two Achieva 1.5T systems with AE. Kosair also uses the Philips KittenScanner, which allows children to "scan" a toy on a scanner replica that's just their size.

"Both the AE and the KittenScanner are really exciting for the kids," says Ms. Bostock. "It gives them a sense of empowerment. Someone is actually letting them make a choice."

 Mary Bostock, RT
Kosair Children’s Hospital
Mary Bostock, RT Kosair Children’s Hospital

When scanning pediatric patients, who tend to get fidgety or frightened during a scan, sedation is sometimes necessary. But Ms. Bostock says that being able to calm and appease their young patients can avoid having to sedate them. She refers to a case of a young girl who needed a long abdominal scan. "This 4-year-old first played enthusiastically with the kitten scanner. Then she carefully selected her AE theme. And then she made it through the scan without sedation, which is very rare for someone her age. Dad was with her and the little girl's relaxation helped him too. I think it calms the parents as much as the kids, and calming the parent calms the child."

"The kids think AE is really cool. They want to take it home and put it in their bedroom."

 T1W T2W
 T1W T2W

4-year-old female, unsedated
This girl with unexplained headaches presented for MRI at Kosair Children's Hospital. She was to be sedated but had eaten. After playing with the KittenScanner and selecting her AE theme she was relaxed enough to undergo the exam without sedation. SENSE was used to speed up the exam and keep motion at a minimum. No abnormalities were found. Achieva 1.5T with AE, 16-channel SENSE NeuroVascular coil.

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Apr 7, 2011

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Best Practice
Achieva 1.5T
Release 2.5, Release 2.6, Release 3.2
Nova, Nova Dual, Pulsar
Ambient Experience, Brain, KittenScanner, Neuro, Pediatric

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