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Tackling pediatric fears of medical imaging

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | March 08, 2021
GE Healthcare Pediatric Adventure Series - Space Adventure
From the March 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

For all patients, but children in particular, the experience of an MR scan can be pretty scary. There’s the noise, there’s the narrow bore, there’s the length of time staying perfectly still, and there’s the knowledge that some health issue needs investigating. This fear, however, can often be offset with a number of technological features and solutions designed to relax the patient in ways that enable scans to run smoothly and produce quality diagnostic images.

Michael Hemmerly, chief sales officer for PDC, a company that provides Caring MR Suites that convert the imaging atmosphere into something fantastical, knows the value of these capabilities professionally and personally. When his daughter arrived to undergo an MR scan, she was terrified, but when the lights turned pink and her favorite Disney movie, Frozen, began to play above the MR table, the mood in the room transformed.

“The smile on my daughter’s face at that moment was priceless, and she couldn’t wait to jump on the MR table,” Hemmerly told HCB News. “I had never seen her so excited in a hospital before.”

Fear of the unknown
Anxious patients are less likely to stay still during an MR scan. This motion can create artifacts that degrade the quality of the exam, leading to the need for a rescan and delaying other patients in line for their appointments. In extreme cases, children may have to be sedated, which increases the length of time for exams and comes with additional costs and safety concerns.

Fujifilm's FDR Go
“Patient comfort is a worthwhile investment because it can help reduce the need for extra exposure to radiation, reduce the amount of staff needed to help hold, and reduce the need for anesthesia or sedation for procedures in the pediatric environment,” said Gloria Mendez, child life specialist for radiology, and Leida Rivera-Haddock, lead radiography tech at Nemours Children’s Hospital. “Investing in patient comfort will ultimately help save money and time as a department.”

For the comfort of their own patients, Nemours performs scans on dolls and stuffed animals to show patients how it’s done. Among the scanners they use are Fujifilm’s FDR Go PLUS, a portable digital X-ray system which comes with the option for several choices of kid-friendly graphic decals to make the equipment less intimidating, and its FDR D-EVO detectors, which have antibacterial coating, including one in 24x30 cm size for a just-right fit into the built-in trays underneath the isolettes in the NICU. This fit helps keep the babies from being disrupted when undergoing scans, they said.

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