Imaging room designed to ease 'scanxiety'

August 28, 2014
Chris Olven/UCSF

A growing number of hospitals around the country and companies that make imaging equipment are beginning to build features into their MRI, CT and other scanning suites to calm patient "scanxiety," according to an article on the SFGate website.

"The traditional imaging rooms are stark, sterile environments — cold and white, with equipment and objects people have never seen before," Dr. John Mackenzie, chief of radiology at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco, said in the article. "They're often asked to go into an enclosed space and sit there and not move for a half hour to hour while the clicking and clacking of the machine does its magic."

In the redesigned imaging rooms, patients might be soothed by dimmed lighting, or distracted by images on flat-screen monitors. They might be allowed to choose their own music or sounds to be piped in during a scan or use special goggles to watch videos.

In one of UCSF's new MRI rooms, patients will be able to climb aboard a cable car, equipped with a ringing bell and other sounds and sights of San Francisco.

Another scanning suite brings patients across a bridge to Muir Woods, where they can settle into a sleeping bag and enjoy the redwoods during their scan. Patients who prefer a more nautical experience can stroll through San Francisco's Marina District and watch images of sailboats projected on the wall gliding by.

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