8 Ways to the Best Patient MRI Experience

By December 3, 2018News
GE Healthcare's Caring MR Suite with inbore viewing for best MRI experience

Imagine lying perfectly still in a small, enclosed, tubular space for anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. You’re attired in a loose hospital gown, unsure of when your MRI experience and its trademark pounding noises will cease. Unsure of what these results may bring.  Add to this the threat of starting over or returning for additional scans due to too much movement. Or the knowledge that these scans will be routine for your care.

For many patients, the MRI experience is anywhere from unpleasant to frightening to downright unbearable, even inspiring the E-Patient community to create the #firstMRI project. Moreover, this fear and discomfort is no small matter. A recent study found 42% of patients report being fearful of MRI and 1 in 7 patients have cancelled an MRI due to fear. Furthermore a recent Harborview study puts the potential cost of patient motion (and needed re-scans) at $115,000 per MRI scanner, per year. Despite fear and discomfort, for many MRI patients, like Thomas, MRI scans are vital to their health care.

At RSNA 2011, the Caring MR Suite launched specifically to address fear, claustrophobia and discomfort and create the best possible patient MRI experience.  Seven years later, patient and caregiver testimonials, and in-house studies are encouraging, with 94% of patients reporting an “Excellent” MRI experience and 25/25 high anxiety patients reporting they would “Highly Recommend” this MRI experience. Furthermore, a recent customer study found our Caring MR Suite technology helped reduce their anesthesia cases by nearly 60% and paid for itself in less than 1.5 years. But to many, the Caring MR Suite simply looks like a beautiful room, so how exactly does it work to lessen patients’ fear?

Well, let’s break it down with a little Psychology 101.

  1. Control – In stressful situations, like an MRI scan, feelings of control can help lessen anxiety.
    1. The Caring MR Suite offers patients control over their MRI experience, to choose their favorite HD Nature Video or movie, lighting hue and music at anytime.
    2. Patients can also physically take control of their environment by simply tapping a touch pad to instantly  personalize their MRI experience.
  2. Personalization – No two patients are alike, and our preferences, needs and moods are ever changing.
    1. The Caring MR Suite gives patients and caregivers the power to personalize Theme, movie, lighting and music to fit their or their patients’ preferences that very moment.
    2. My Device, DVD & computer integration options ensure there’s content for every patient and empowers caregivers to be involved in offering additional patient content options, like movies or custom Themes. Intermountain Cedar City created a custom Illuminated Image Ceiling, Image Panels and Themes as a thank you for their community.
  1. Healing Power of NatureStudies find that patients exposed to nature heal more quickly and require less medication. These studies also find exposure to nature reduces stress and anxiety while rejuvenating and inspiring.
    1. The Caring MR Suite features original 4K Ultra HD nature videography created specifically for patients.
    2. 4K Ultra HD Ceiling And Wall Video Displays offer the sharpest image quality available to bring nature closer to patients than ever before.
    3. Our new in-bore viewing HD Portable Video Display allows patients to enjoy their favorite Nature Theme video or movie start to finish of their MRI scan – now making the at times impossible MRI, possible. Learn about Misson: M4 and Thomas’ story.
    4. New 4K Virtual Aquariums & Aquatic Themes bring the unique calming power of water and rarely seen aquatic life to patients.
  1. Positive DistractionMatt Killingsworth’s study finds we’re the least happy when our minds are wandering – as they tend to wander to our worries and anxieties. Furthermore, Guy Winch shows how just 2 minutes of positive distraction can turn the tide of negativity in a positive direction.
    1. By involving patients in Theme Selection, caregivers can positively focus patients’ attention on choosing their MRI experience to prevent worry and anxiety.
    2. The Caring MR Suite pre-scan choice options allow patients to be engaged as early as waiting rooms, during scheduling, or on provider websites or social media.
    3. Previewing Nature Theme options  further enhances the positive effects with the benefits of nature.
  2. Sensory Absorption – Studies finds that when you have choice over your environment, your senses are more likely to be engaged in the experience – watching the video, seeing the lighting, listening to the music – enhancing the benefits or nature, the arts and positive distraction.
    1. The CMRS meaningfully engages senses of sight, sound and touch.
  1. Connection – Chronic loneliness, Guy Winch finds, shortens lifespans, increases high blood pressure & suppresses functioning of the immune system. Additionally according to Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General, “During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.”
    1. The Caring MR Suite creates opportunities for caregiver – patient interaction and bonding when choosing the right MRI experience for the patient.
  2. The Power of Play – This NPR TED Radio Hour “Press Play” discusses how play has the power to decrease stress, increase empathy among strangers and improve happiness and well being.
    1. The colorful Caring MR Suite environment, touch controls & near limitless content options creates an environment friendly to play.
    2. Here, Doug Dietz shares how the power of distraction, play & empathy in design improves the pediatric imaging experience with GE Adventure Series.
  1. Less choice, greater happiness – Contrary to belief – more choice does not lead to more happiness, in fact, Barry Schwartz finds it tends to lessen it.
    1. The Caring MR Suite provides flexibility to modify offerings as providers feel fit.

It’s been our pleasure to work with so many fantastic teams working to improve the patient MRI experience over the years, and we look forward to continuing to strive to offer the very best MRI and healthcare experience to every patient.

Visit our Portfolio to see a sample of our latest projects, connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn for the latest, and contact us with any questions or ideas to improve the patient experience.