“As adults, many of us can experience anxiety and stress during an MRI exam, and this is especially true for our youngest patients. By removing factors that can trigger stress, we are enhancing the patient engagement experience for pediatric patients to help improve outcomes,” said Werner Satter, General Manager Philips Healthcare Environment and Experience Design. “With Philips Pediatric Coaching, we deploy gamification to help children better prepare for their MRI scan in a non-threatening environment at home, interacting with the same character and voice like Ollie the Elephant and friends, who also coaches them at the hospital, and can even coach them during the MRI procedure itself.”
To prepare for their MRI scan, children are provided with a gamified mobile app that familiarizes the child and their parents with an MRI procedure in a playful way. The app also introduces the child to a virtual ‘buddy’ they can role-play with to perform an MRI scan - for example, pretending to be the system operator and helping their buddy to lie still in order to get the best picture. The app also uses augmented reality to allow the child to explore the MRI system at home before entering the hospital. Many parents express a willingness to help prepare their child ahead of time, and by playing alongside their child, they can also learn more about the procedure.
When the family visits the radiology department, the same familiar virtual buddy interacts with the child as they play with Philips’ newly enhanced ‘Kitten Scanner’ - a small scale educational scanner that allows children to scan various toy animals and view what’s inside each animal for a better understanding of the upcoming procedure. When the child has their scan, their buddy’s familiar voice and image are projected onto Philips’ Ambient Experience in-bore Connect solution, to guide the child through the scan procedure by coaching them, for example, on when and how to hold their breath. With the new Pediatric Coaching Solution, parents are reassured, and the child is empowered and well prepared, helping ensure the high-quality images needed for an accurate diagnosis of the child’s condition are captured.
Today’s announcement follows a similar child patient-centric initiative between Philips and the Walt Disney Company EMEA earlier this year to test the effects of custom-made animations, including specially-made Disney stories, within Philips’ Ambient Experience hospital environments. An overview of breakthrough innovations in pediatric imaging to help improve care for younger patients, including how to reduce pediatric patients’ fear and anxiety, is also discussed in a recent blog article by Dr. Julia Dmitrieva, KOL Engagement Leader for Precision Diagnosis at Philips.