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Siemens Healthcare launches mobile application to relieve MRI scan apprehension in patients

Siemens Healthcare has unveiled a MRI Scan mobile application which is intended to provide education and relieve possible fears surrounding MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans in both children and adults.

The app is set to address issues highlighted by a recent survey from Siemens, where almost half of respondents stated they dislike MRI scans, with many citing a lack of understanding as a key contributor to their fears.

An MRI scan allows consultants to evaluate parts of the patient’s body that may not be accessed adequately with other imaging methods, such as X-ray, ultrasound and CT.

A common problem is appointments missed due to fears around the imaging process, resulting in lost productivity for clinicians and delayed diagnosis of conditions for patients.

Key information and educational features of the MRI Scan app include:

  • Explanatory procedure information – Explains why a patient may need an MRI scan, and how to prepare for it
  • Technological insight – Explains how an MRI scan works, including information regarding the duration and its key advantages over other imaging techniques
  • Results preparation – Details what happens after an MRI scan, including how results are processed and who will discuss these with a patient
  • An understanding into the history – An overview of the MRI scan, from when the first one-dimensional MRI image was produced, until today
  • Interactive kids section – All of the same features as in the adult version, but in an understandable format for children, told by children

Key visual and interactive features of the MRI Scan app include:

  • 360 degree virtual MRI scan – Patients can lie down or lean back and move their tablets around to virtually experience an MRI scan
  • Realistic sound comparison – Compares the sound of an MRI scan to other real-life noises, including wind, traffic, a vacuum cleaner and a dog barking
  • Informative image gallery – Offers a range of images showing an MRI scanner from all angles and an insight into what a scan looks like
  • Real-life video of a scan – Visually explores what an MRI scan is, how it is performed and goes into further detail about the procedure

Siemens Healthcare Division managing director Peter Harrison said: "A recent Siemens survey revealed that almost half of respondents dislike MRI scans.

"We are constantly pushing the boundaries of imaging technologies – introducing technology such as the Wide Bore to accommodate patients of all shapes and sizes, and the MoodLight, producing soothing colours for a more relaxed environment.

"We understand, however, that a number of patients will never make it into the examination room for a selection of reasons including concerns about noise, claustrophobia, and a lack of understanding around what is involved. The MRI Scan app’s primary aim is to reduce anxiety before an examination, providing a one-of-a-kind approach to a widespread problem."

Further strengthening its portfolio of technology for paediatric support, Siemens Healthcare has also partnered with University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust to develop a virtual hospital web app aimed at children referred to visit hospital for diagnostic imaging examinations.

The web app allows each child to select a character appropriate to their age and gender plus select the modality that relates to their upcoming appointment: Fluoroscopy, MRI, Ultrasound or X-Ray.

The Siemens MRI Scan app is now available to download free of charge for tablet devices from both iTunes and Google Play.