by Lauren Dubinsky
, Senior Reporter | September 24, 2018
From the September 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
“The proper insertion of ear plugs is critical, and I don’t think people really get any training about that,” said Bullwinkel. “It’s typically handed to the patient to do and how many people have used an earplug before? If you are not doing it correctly then you are not getting the noise reduction you should.”
Audio and visual distraction > sedation
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Even the best technologist will be glad to have audio and visual equipment on hand to help calm and comfort anxious patients. These tools provide them with entertaining videos that ease them into the MR scanner and distract them from the exam.
NordicNeuroLab’s nordicComfortSolution package consists of the company’s 40-inch ultrahigh definition InroomViewingDevice and the nordicComfortPlayer, which the technologist uses to select video and audio files for the patient, Avotec’s Silent Vision solution is slightly different, in that it uses projectors to display the visual presentation.
Another company at the forefront of addressing patient satisfaction in the MR suite is MRIaudio, which offers an array of headphone solutions for patients to enjoy music during the scan experience.
Despite the differences, all of these solutions share the same goal of enhancing comfort and eliminating the need for sedation or general anesthesia, which can add new types of uncertainty to the scan process.
“From a provider point-of-view, you have a patient who has taken drugs and you are going to put them in a scanner and you’re not sitting right by their side,” said Bullwinkel. “The provider doesn’t know whether the patient took one or two pills and they can’t monitor what is going on.”
Sedation is also not practical from a business standpoint. A 2010 study conducted by the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto found that sedation increases MR costs by as much as 300 percent.
General anesthesia is an even more expensive option.
“Very often we see that general anesthesia is being used on the younger patient groups – at many sites this is the protocol for children aged 16 and younger,” said Lie Omdahl. “General anesthesia adds risk to the patient and is costly for the hospital as it requires more time and resources to administer.”
Aside from safety, an important difference between patient comfort technologies and sedation or general anesthesia is that the patients are familiar with audio and video stimulation. These distractions recall regular everyday experiences, which can be sorely lacking in the medical setting.