Innovation Matters

Dec 07, 2017

Using the power of art and music to improve MRI experience

Estimated reading time: 7-9 minutes

An MRI scan can be an intimidating experience. Could music of a full orchestra and some of Rijksmuseum's famous artworks make a difference? 

Having an MRI scan can be an intimidating experience – one that can be made easier through the use of increasingly sophisticated ambient technology. 


As pioneers in the field of medical Ambient Experience, Philips are taking the multisensory approach to the next level by using video, sound and dynamic lighting to create a more relaxing environment for patients. They are teaming up with Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and other partners for a new theme that connects art and healthcare like never before.

Ambience from the masters

Working with Rijksmuseum curator (Pieter Roelofs), nine specially selected artworks were chosen as the basis of the 45 minute Dutch Masters Ambient Experience theme, where they slowly build from sketches to the final artworks to help bring feelings of calmness and wellbeing to the patient as they undergo a scan.


The paintings and sketches themselves were taken from the Rijksmuseum’s Dutch Masters collection which focuses on relaxing, open, feel-good landscapes as depicted by 19th and 17th century Dutch artists. For curator, Pieter Roelofs, these images not only create a sense of well-being for patients but fit in well with MRI scans as “they’ve been built up in the same way…layer by layer”.

They’ve been built up in the same way…layer by layer.

Pieter Roelofs

Rijksmuseum curator

Dutch Masters: Rijksmuseum partners with Ambient Experience
To strengthen the calming effects of the artworks and create a fully immersive experience for the patient, accompanying orchestral music was selected and performed by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
The music helps to distract patients from their fears in a peaceful way. As the music is focused on the MRI scan, it becomes very personalized. This brings new value to the medical world and also gives us an insight  into which type of music is the most effective.

Andre Heuvelman

Creative Manager of the orchestra

Dutch Masters: Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

Less stress for better success

Studies have shown that up to 40%1 of all patients undergoing MR examinations experience medium to high levels of anxiety, and that almost 70%2 of all scans are done in a head-first orientation – which is more stressful for patients than going in feet first. This discomfort can make it challenging for patients to focus on staying still and regulating their breathing, which can affect the outcome of a scan and possibly result in the need to do another.


Making patients as comfortable as possible is always the goal of healthcare professionals, and using Ambient Experience solutions such as the Dutch Masters theme helps patients to feel calmer before and during MRI examinations, contributing to a positive patient and staff experience.

Dutch Masters: Peter's MR (Ambient) Experience

The art of health and wellbeing

The full Ambient Experience solution will soon be available at the Academic Medical Center, including the AE In-Bore Connect and the DutchMasters theme. Philips and partners hope to continue research into how the combination of music and art helps patients to feel better during scans.


The collaboration with all four partners is just one example of how innovation, art and technology can be combined to improve medical experiences for both clinicians and patients. After all, making life better isn’t just about improving diagnostic technology – it’s also about how technology makes people feel, and how the overall experience is improved from both a clinical and human viewpoint.

We’re proud to take our Sponsorship with the Rijksmuseum to the next level and making it even more meaningful. Art has the great power to inspire, unite and change lives. We try to improve the patient experience by emerging the patient with Art.

Nathalie Lam

Head of Sponsorship at Phillips Global

 Dutch Masters: Philips improves patient experience with music & art

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Innovation matters team

Innovation Matters delivers news, opinions and features about healthcare, and is focused on the professionals who work within the industry, as well as Philips as a cutting-edge health technology organization.