Innovative MRI changes planned with the patient in mind

  • Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Imagine looking up at scenes of a Tahitian beach and listening to classical music as you have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan done at the hospital.
As Summerville Medical Center (SMC) upgrades its MRI suite, the hospital is adopting innovative changes, including calming visuals and music, to help ease patient anxiety. At the same time, the new scanner’s design and accompanying technology will allow more people to benefit from MRI scans, which can be an important diagnostic tool.
“We’re continuing to invest in state-of-the-art capabilities so our community doesn’t have to drive downtown for specialized treatment. Our nationally recognized quality care is a product of the technology we offer and our experienced medical team,” says CEO Lou Caputo.
In fact, SMC’s $1.9 million MRI makeover, which should be completed by November, will include improvements that are not available anywhere else in the Charleston area. 
MRI Makeover Highlights
·       New dimensions – SMC is replacing its current MRI equipment and adding GE Healthcare’s Optima MR 450W with the Geometry Embracing Method (GEM).  The new scanner is quieter, with more pleasing lighting and a more comfortable design. The diameter of its inner tunnel (bore) is wider, providing more space around the patient. It’s also shorter, so the patient typically won’t be as enclosed. Around 70 percent of the time, the patient’s head will be outside of the tunnel. These changes should help prevent the claustrophobic reaction that some experience during an MRI scan and cut back on the need for sedatives that roughly 30 percent of patients take beforehand. “It’s a much easier environment,” says Director of Imaging Greg Williams. The added width of the opening will also allow larger patients (up to 500 pounds) to have MRI scans done at SMC. Plus, the new technology offered with this scanner will expand the types of neurological, pediatric and breast MRI scans that can be done at SMC.
·       A soothing, sensory approach ­– SMC is incorporating Caring Suite features with adjustable music, visual imagery and mood lighting. Before they enter the MRI suite, patients will be given an iPad that allows them to choose from a menu of options. Visual images will be shown on a screen in the ceiling, above the patient. Most options are nature-themed or animated for children. Corresponding music selections are classical or instrumental, but patients can bring in their own iPads or iPods if they prefer to listen to their own songs. “The whole goal is to give them some sort of control in an environment where they don’t feel like they have a lot of control,” Williams says. SMC is the only location in the Charleston area to offer Caring Suite as part of its MRI setup.
·       Mavrik capabilities - SMC will add in GE’s new Mavrik SL imaging application, which should make it much easier to read MRI scans of bone and tissue near metallic implants such as joint replacements, or certain kinds of dental work.  For example, Mavrik will help orthopedic doctors identify failing knee or hip replacements before they are unsalvageable. Kevin Morris, GE product specialist for South Carolina, says Mavrik is not being used anywhere else in Charleston, but has been well received in other areas. “The feedback that we’ve been getting so far is that the doctors are very impressed with it.” To schedule an MRI, please call 1-877-357-0156.
The new MRI unit includes calming visuals and music, to help ease patient anxiety. The suite will include a TV screen in the ceiling, as shown in this example.

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