Adapting Medical Imaging to Meet the Needs of Tots


Medical imaging x-ray being held by childWho ever thought that a medical imaging experience could be fun for tots? Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC (CHP) did, and they put their medical imaging idea into action. CHP created its Adventure Series program, which makes use of theme-based medical imaging suites that are outfitted with music and videos and staffed by carefully trained technologists.

Keeping a young child motionless long enough to perform the necessary medical imaging is a real challenge for radiologists. Sedation becomes routine, creating safety and throughput concerns.

“When we’re doing imaging studies to address clinical questions — [such as] do they have a tumor or major medical problem — if the patient can’t stay still, then the images are affected and we can’t get the answer. So we have to use sedation to get them to stay still,” said Ashok Panigrahy, CHP’s radiologist in chief. “But sedation has a risk. If we can get them distracted and engaged enough to stay still, that’s the best scenario.”

An Interactive Journey

The Adventure Series medical imaging equipment creates a fun journey for each little patient and makes the radiology experience more exciting and interactive. Since launching the first room in September 2005, the number of sedations for pediatric CT plummeted from 354 cases in 2005 to four in 2009.

CHP was the pilot project with two themed suites, Pirate Island and Coral City. In PirateIsland, technologists wear pirate hats as they open a treasure chest where children can choose a reward for remaining still and being brave. In May 2009 CHP, expanded the program to nine rooms which eliminated the department’s 16- to 18-day backlog, while volume mushroomed 66 percent between 2009 and 2011.

From Space to Sand Castles

Playing the role of astronauts, in one of four MR suites called Outer Space, technologists invite children to board the space capsule rather than the scanner. Children can watch a movie during the medical imaging scan using one of three sets of virtual reality goggles. The combination of videos and goggles cut MR sedation 35 percent in 2007.

Featuring a linear accelerator disguised as a sand castle, a hybrid surfboard/transport table and a scuba tank for oxygen, AdventureBeach serves as the radiation oncology suite. The Adventure Series is designed to provide successful distraction therapy that will appeal to all five senses. Three-dimensional decorative elements were fashioned for an enhanced viewing effect, a music therapist created themed music, while lights, sounds, and aromatherapy to produce a unique medical imaging experience for every patient.

Whether for children or adults, McKesson offers a complete suite of medical imaging solutions to meet all your radiology needs.

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