July 1, 2010 – The experience of getting an MRI can now be a much less intimidating experience, thanks to a new magnetic resonance (MR) scanner designed to ease patients’ anxiety and claustrophobia. Lawrence General Hospital in Massachusetts recently installed the first Philips Panorama High Field Open (HFO) MR scanner with Ambient Experience, which allows patients to adjust lighting and animations in order to make themselves more comfortable.
Ambient Experience integrates architecture, design and technologies, such as lighting and sound, to allow patients to personalize their environment and experience a more relaxing atmosphere. Animation selections on the wall are accompanied by soft lighting and music, allowing “escapes” to areas such as the coastline or mountains. For children, a cartoon scene is also available.
“We wanted to offer our patients something they couldn’t get anywhere else in the area. They are engaged from the moment they walk through the door,” said
Brian P. Murphy, M.D., medical director, Department of Radiology at Lawrence General Hospital. “The soothing environment provided by the Ambient Experience is only part of the way we are working to meet the needs of our patients, many who are claustrophobic. Patients appreciate the option of being scanned in the open MR. It’s opening up the possibility of MR to patients who would otherwise be unable to tolerate imaging in a closed-bore setting.
Murphy went on to say that the new MR technology makes the process easier for the physicians as well.
“Having patients more relaxed helps us drive efficiency since it often takes less time to position them and in the past some testing had to be rescheduled due to patient anxiety,” he added.