Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant
Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant

Greg Freiherr has reported on developments in radiology since 1983. He runs the consulting service, The Freiherr Group.

Sponsored Content | Blog | Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant | Computed Tomography (CT) | August 03, 2017

How Putting Patients At Ease Can Improve Care

Children awaiting imaging studies play at an interactive wall in Children’s Hospital of Georgia

Children awaiting imaging studies play at an interactive wall in Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

It looked like the autistic child at the Children's Hospital of Georgia at Augusta University (AU) Health would have to be sedated. Showing extreme apprehension, the young boy flatly refused to even go into the CT suite, staff recalled. That changed after the child "scanned" a foam elephant with the Philips KittenScanner.

"It has a way of explaining things that children can understand," said Julie G. Moretz, AU Health assistant vice president of Patient- and Family-Centered Care.

The KittenScanner can tell several different stories, depending on the foam toy — elephant, chicken, alligator or robot — chosen by the patient. Reading the computer chip embedded in the foam elephant, the KittenScanner told the autistic child the faux animal's "tummy ache" was caused by fish in its drinking water.

Just as the KittenScanner found the cause of the elephant's troubles, a technologist said, the CAT scanner in the next room might help doctors figure out what was bothering the little boy.

The pretend CT scanner, which stands about as tall as the children who play with it, is an example of patient- and family-centered care at AU Health in Augusta, Georgia. As implemented in the pediatric imaging department, this type of service helps both the efficiency of staff and the patient experience, Moretz said.

 

Putting the Patient First

Happy and comfortable patients cooperate, which is important for creating a better patient experience, as well as keeping patients safe, Moretz explained. They hold still, so motion artifacts don't degrade images, which can reduce the need for more scans. Their exams are quick, which optimizes patient throughput. And working together with patients and their parents to keep them happy and safe helps Children’s Hospital of Georgia keep its patients coming back.

"Anytime we can make them feel like they're being heard and included as part of the health care team, then it’s not so scary to come back," she said.

A couple years ago, when redesigning the pediatric imaging suite, a multidisciplinary team of experts from the radiology department and the AU Health-Philips alliance completed an in-depth, on-site analysis and gathered input from patients, parents and staff to define clinical, functional and emotional requirements for the new pediatric radiology suite. Designers considered surveys detailing what patients and parents liked and didn't like; spoke with radiology staff; even wheeled architects on gurneys through the department to give them a "patients' eye view."

AU Health staff noticed, for example, that warm blankets make scans easier on the patient. Designers moved the blanket warmer closer, so technologists didn't have to leave patients unattended. Ceilings were raised so clouds and forests could be painted above the equipment; "non-hospital" lights were installed with colors that could be chosen by the patients; and an interactive "video wall" was wired into the patient "waiting lounge."

With its 80 different distractions, the wall is the centerpiece of the Children’s Hospital imaging suite. Children hop up and down to pop balloons or pick apples from trees. They watch waves ripple across a puddle; corn kernels pop; fireworks explode.

"You will always see a child standing there playing," Moretz said. "You can also see adults standing there playing — looking around to see if anybody is watching them."

 

Calm Before The Exam

Like the wall and other gadgets in the pediatric imaging department, the KittenScanner engages patients. It takes the mystery out of the CAT scan; empowers children with information; and distracts them.

Little things can have a big effect, like "kid-sizing" counter tops and tables; or letting children control the color of lights. The parents of pediatric patients "feel better," said Moretz, when they see their children relax.

Not surprisingly, children who must return to Children’s Hospital of Georgia for follow-up exams look forward to their visits, she said. So engaging is the video wall, for example, that some patients hesitate when called for their exams. Staff have a fix that fits the character of their patient-centric approach.

"Staff tell them, wait till you see what you can do in the next room," Moretz said.

The award-winning redesign included extending the upbeat atmosphere of the waiting lounge to "waiting nooks." Located just outside the exam rooms, these nooks are where patients and their families prepare for imaging exams. Children can choose non-hospital lighting — pink, lime green or "rainbow." And they can play sounds, like wind blowing or waves crashing.

This gives children a sense of control exactly when they need it most. The proximity of the nooks is similarly calming. "While a parent may be with their child during an exam, it makes the experience better (when they) know that other family members are right outside the door," said Moretz, who noted that family presence is an important aspect of patient- and family-centered care.

Touch panels in the walls of the imaging suites encourage pediatric patients to choose the lighting and sounds during their exams. And, of course, those nervous about getting a CAT scan can play with the KittenScanner beforehand.

Vendors, like all stakeholders at AU Health, must respect "patient voices and our patient- and family-centered values," Moretz said. Vendors have to be prepared to "operationalize the mission and the vision that we expect as our standard of care," she said. "That is where the philosophy of patient- and family-centered care comes into practice."

For more information about Philips patient- and staff-centered imaging solutions, visit www.philips.com/radiology

Related Content

This data represents wave 2 of a QuickPoLL survey conducted in partnership with an imagePRO panel created by The MarkeTech Group (TMTG), regarding the effects of COVID-19 on their business

Getty Images

Feature | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | July 01, 2020 | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Imaging Artificial Intelligence (AI) provider Qure.ai announced its first US FDA 510(k) clearance for its head CT scan product qER. The US Food and Drug Administration's decision covers four critical abnormalities identified by Qure.ai's emergency room product.
News | Artificial Intelligence | June 30, 2020
June 30, 2020 — Imaging Artificial Intelligence (AI) provider Qure.ai announced its first US FDA 510(k) clearance for
In new QuickPoLL survey on imaging during the pandemic, responses were tallied from around 170 radiology administrators and business managers, who are part of an imagePRO panel created by The MarkeTech Group (TMTG), regarding the effects of COVID-19 on their business. TMTG is a research firm specializing in the medical device, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.
Feature | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | June 30, 2020 | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Cardiac MR can offer data above and beyond anatomical imaging, which is the main reason why this system was installed at Baylor Scott White Heart Hospital in Dallas. The system is a dedicated heart MRI scanner.

Cardiac MR can offer data above and beyond anatomical imaging, which is the main reason why this system was installed at Baylor Scott White Heart Hospital in Dallas. The system is a dedicated heart MRI scanner.

News | Pediatric Imaging | June 29, 2020
June 29, 2020 — A type of smart magnetic r...
Thoracic findings in a 15-year-old girl with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). (a) Chest radiograph on admission shows mild perihilar bronchial wall cuffing. (b) Chest radiograph on the third day of admission demonstrates extensive airspace opacification with a mid and lower zone predominance. (c, d) Contrast-enhanced axial CT chest of the thorax at day 3 shows areas of ground-glass opacification (GGO) and dense airspace consolidation with air bronchograms. (c) This conformed to a mosai

Thoracic findings in a 15-year-old girl with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). (a) Chest radiograph on admission shows mild perihilar bronchial wall cuffing. (b) Chest radiograph on the third day of admission demonstrates extensive airspace opacification with a mid and lower zone predominance. (c, d) Contrast-enhanced axial CT chest of the thorax at day 3 shows areas of ground-glass opacification (GGO) and dense airspace consolidation with air bronchograms. (c) This conformed to a mosaic pattern with a bronchocentric distribution to the GGO (white arrow, d) involving both central and peripheral lung parenchyma with pleural effusions (black small arrow, d). image courtesy of Radiological Society of North America

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | June 26, 2020
June 26, 2020 — In recent weeks, a multisystem hyperinflammatory condition has emerged in children in association wit
Researchers from five infectious disease hospitals across four districts in Guangzhou, China found that the less pulmonary consolidation on chest CT, the greater the possibility of negative initial reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) results for 21 patients (nine men, 12 women; age range, 26–90 years)

Comparison of CT features between groups with negative and positive initial RT-PCR results.
aThe difference was statistically significant in comparison of the two groups (p < 0.05).

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | June 18, 2020
June 18, 2020 — 
The thickness of the cartilage covering the end of each bone is colour-coded, with red areas denoting thinner cartilage and green-blue areas denoting thicker cartilage. The technique helps locate where arthritis is affecting the joint over time.

The thickness of the cartilage covering the end of each bone is colour-coded, with red areas denoting thinner cartilage and green-blue areas denoting thicker cartilage. The technique helps locate where arthritis is affecting the joint over time. Image courtesy of the University of Cambridge

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | June 11, 2020
June 11, 2020 — An algorithm that analyzes...
Chief among the myriad practical updates to minimize risks for patients and imaging personnel alike is a tiered approach for delaying both outpatient and inpatient cross-sectional interventional procedures

For procedural delays that will not adversely affect patient outcome, Fananapazir and colleagues proposed the following tiered approach for both outpatient and inpatient scenarios: urgent procedures, procedures that should be performed within 2 weeks, procedures that should be performed within 2 months, and procedures that can safely be delayed 2 or 6 months. Courtesy of American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR)

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | June 05, 2020
June 5, 2020 — An...
Largest case series (n=30) to date yields high frequency (77%) of negative chest CT findings among pediatric patients (10 months-18 years) with COVID-19, while also suggesting common findings in subset of children with positive CT findings

A and B, Unenhanced chest CT scans show minimal GGOs (right lower and left upper lobes) (arrows) and no consolidation. Only two lobes were affected, and CT findings were assigned CT severity score of 2. Image courtesy of American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR)

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | May 29, 2020
May 29, 2020 — An investigation published open-access in the ...