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A better MR experience is just good business

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 27, 2021
MRI
From the September 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Lying perfectly still for a long time in a noisy, tightly confined, MR bore is nobody’s idea of a fun time. Patients feeling anxious may choose to skip their exam out of fear or require sedation to calm them, delaying the scan and others scheduled for the day. Those that move during the scan as a result of their anxiety and claustrophobia often require a repeat scan, forcing them to go through the ordeal once more.

To help prevent incidents like this, hospitals are investing in solutions that help assuage these patient fears, or provide distractions to make the scan more tolerable. HealthCare Business News looked around the industry to learn more about some of the innovations that are taking the discomfort out of the MR experience, and the vendors who are developing them.

PDC Facilities utilizes video and lighting technology to transform MR rooms into interactive areas that offer an engaging experience to patients. The company’s Caring MR Suite allows the patient to adjust video, lighting, music and communication and customize the scanning room into a more fun and interactive space.

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“Patients and caregivers can select a favorite color, audio, nature theme video or even a movie before their scan,” Michael Hemmerly, chief sales officer of PDC, and Blayne Seidl, chief sales officer of Sentient, a division of PDC, told HCB News. “Scrolling text and countdown timers help keep all patients encouraged and informed, and are particularly helpful for patients with hearing issues and foreign language speakers.”

While MR continues to advance, the fundamental physics of the exam still prohibits certain comforts that have been incorporated into other aspects of healthcare. There are also tremendous safety concerns in the MR suite, due to the strength of the magnet that makes the imaging possible.

“In an ideal world, hospital architecture would be bright, open and lavish to help put patients at ease. The reality though, is very different,” said Hemmerly and Seidl. “In MR imaging departments, for example, MR protection requirements must be observed. As a consequence, MR rooms tend to be in areas where natural light is a luxury and often windowless walls create a bunker-like atmosphere.”

One way to improve the general ambiance of an MR suite is by going all-in on colorful and imaginative decorations. Character Farms is a company that specializes in draping medical equipment in other-worldly skins and dressing the walls in bright, immersive art. This transforms the cold and sterile MR environment into adventure-themed settings and paradises.

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