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Patient experience becoming top priority in MR suite

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 05, 2022
From the September 2022 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

A study published in Radiology in 2011 found that an outpatient MR scan costs $902 with sedation, compared to $665 without it. This indicates that pediatric MR costs for sedated and anesthetized patients are, respectively, 3.24 and 9.56 times higher than MR costs for patients who stay awake.

"After a patient is sedated for a scan, they need to be placed in a recovery room until the sedation medication is worn off. This takes up valuable nurse's time, as well as hospital space, which increases costs. If hospitals can eliminate this, it's a major savings for both the patient and hospital," said Mathieu.

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Utilizing MR patient experience solutions reduces the need for anesthesia and sedation, making scans easier, as well as less costly and time-consuming. Hornbrook recommends that providers invest in a solution that is simple and easy to use.

He also says it should be one that has undergone extensive testing, is certified to meet specific requirements, and has been refined based on feedback from technicians. MRIaudio's headphones, for instance, are certified with a noise reduction rating of 29 decibels, which is the highest quality sound standard for hearing protection in MR. This reduces the chances of a patient developing tinnitus or experiencing hearing damage.

"A lot of those things go into the design of the system to make it something that a technologist would want to use, that they're happy to use and that doesn't interrupt their workflow. The most important thing is that we don't interrupt the day and cause a scan to take longer," said Hornbrook.

Communicating effectively is also vital, as radiologists and technicians must be able to relay instructions to patients such as “please hold still” and “you’re doing great” to keep them informed. The CinemaVision A/V headset contains a microphone that allows staff to communicate with patients and monitor their breathing. And PDC Facilities’ Caring MR Suite utilizes custom patient scrolling text that runs across the bottom of its In-Bore Viewing Video Display.

“This is also helpful for anyone who may have trouble hearing, or speaks other languages. We can also tie messages to countdown timers, which has been particularly helpful for ViewRay's MRIdian breath holds,” said Maslowski.

Enhancing future patient experiences
In some cases, patient experience solutions can mean the difference between patients completing an MR scan or not, because patients may be too anxious or might not respond well to anesthesia or sedation. The best approach is to create an environment that is personalized and gives them a sense of familiarity, according to Maslowski.

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