The Ambient MRI Is Designed for an Improved Patient Experience and Imaging

November 5, 2021

Ambient MRI, Aiken Regional Medical Center, Aiken, SCDesigned to help patients relax and stay still during the motion-sensitive MRI* (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, the Philips Ambient Experience is available for patients at Southside Imaging Center of Aiken Regional Medical Centers.

“It’s no secret that any kind of medical procedure or testing can cause anxiety for a patient, and an MRI is no different,” says Lisa Davis, Director of Imaging Services at Aiken Regional Medical Centers. “An MRI scan involves the need for the patient to hold still in a constricted space, which can be challenging, especially for patients with claustrophobia. The Ambient Experience immerses the patient in a relaxing experience of their choice, creating a distraction to help the patient stay calm and still during what might otherwise be a stressful experience.”

How the Ambient MRI Experience Works

When the patient first arrives for their head-first MRI, they can browse and select from at least 20 video experiences built into the system. Examples include a hot air balloon ride, beautiful landscape scenery from all over the world, beach scenes and sunsets. Streaming capabilities are also available, so if the patient prefers, a favorite TV show or movie can be viewed instead. Once the patient is comfortably positioned for their scan, the engaging visuals, sounds and lighting from the patient’s selected experience are displayed on a wall that can be viewed and listened to by the patient via a reflective mirror.

Improved Patient Experience

Quality of Life Magazine, Aiken Regional Medical Center, Aiken, SC
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According to research conducted by the National Institutes of Health, patient motion during an MRI compromises image quality and is a common cause for repeat scans. The Ambient MRI experience was designed to help reduce patient stress, allowing the patient to feel more in control, and, therefore, better able to understand instructions from clinicians regarding staying still or repositioning. The MRI technologist can then focus on obtaining the highest-quality images possible, allowing for a more precise diagnoses and possibly reducing the need for re-scans.

“The most significant patient concerns with MRI, including claustrophobia, comfort and noise, are all addressed with this system,” says Josh Tune, RT(R)(CT)(MR), MRI/CT lead technologist at Aiken Regional Medical Centers. “We’ve already had patients with claustrophobia tell us that that they will never need to be medicated again for an MRI, due to the comfort features of the Ambient.”

MRI Ambient Comfort Features Include:

  • Thick-memory foam mattress
  • Wide-open bore, giving patients plenty of room from top to bottom and side to side
  • Length of only about five feet, so it is not necessary for a patient’s entire body to be inside the MRI’s bore during the scan
  • Reduced noise
  • Built-in visual timer bar, allowing the patient to keep track of how much time is left for each scan
  • Software tool that adjusts to certain parameters to meet safety conditions for patients with certain devices or implants

“From the beginning of the MRI scan to the end, so much thought was put into the patient experience in the design of this tool,” adds Tune.

*An MRI is a diagnostic procedure that uses computer technology and a powerful magnet to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body.

Source: Reducing clinical MRI motion degradation using a pre-scan patient information pamphlet