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From projectors to better system design, comfort comes to the MR suite

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | October 14, 2019
From the October 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“The Oasis is so patient friendly already,” said Jason Miller, executive director of radiology products at Hitachi. “The patient can look out the entire time they are being scanned and they can have someone accompany them in the room and even hold their hand.”

Hitachi has been in the open-bore MR market segment for about 30 years now. In the past, other companies offered open units at lower field strengths, but now that Hitachi is up to 1.2T it may have chased some of the competition away, said Miller.

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“It’s a challenge to make a vertical field magnet that can perform equal to a 1.5T horizontal field magnet, but we have more expertise so we stayed in this area and we have been able to do just that,” he added.

GE Healthcare and Philips have fleets of wide-bore 1.5T and 3T MR scanners that span up to 70 centimeters. The companies also offer sound-reduction technology — GE’s is called Silent Scan and Philips’ is ComforTone.

GE recently released its lightweight AIR technology coil suite. These new coils resemble cozy blankets, unlike the traditional bulky coils.

“The more comfortable the patient feels, improves compliance with the exam,” said Bryan Mock, general manager of MR 3T segment at GE. “This reduces motion-related artifacts since it’s easier for patients to remain still when the experience is relaxing and calming.”

Canon Medical offers its MR Theater on its Vantage Titan, Vantage Orian and Vantage Galan scanners, which projects peaceful, virtual reality images onto a dome-shaped screen inside the bore. Canon’s Pianissimo quiet scan technology reduces acoustic noise during the scan and allows patients to listen to in-ear audio.

Siemens Healthineers also has a fleet of 70-centimeter bore MR systems and technology called QuietSuite that dampens the noise, but recently the company has been putting their efforts into the infotainment side of things. It’s currently working with a third-party vendor to develop an immersive patient experience technology called Innovision for the MAGNETOM Altea that creates the illusion of a larger bore while simultaneously providing video entertainment.

The business side of things
It’s a given that happy, satisfied patients are more likely to return to your facility, if needed, and recommend you to their family and friends.

“Providing a good patient experience can make a big difference to the top- and bottom-line for a hospital,” said Harry Klijn, MR product manager at Philips. “A good patient experience can attract more patients, creating patient loyalty, making their referring physicians confident to refer more patients to the same facility, and improving the overall reputation of the provider.”

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