World's first Ambient Experience radiology suite opens at Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital

Chicago 26 July 2005Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital and Royal Philips Electronics have opened the world's first Ambient Experience paediatric radiology suite. This suite is designed to create a soothing environment that enables children to relax while undergoing computed tomography (CT) scans. The overall goal of the design is to make children more comfortable potentially reducing the need for sedation and repeat examinations.

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"The goal of the Ambient Experience CT suite is to give control of the radiology environment to young patients to alleviate their anxiety and tension", stated Dr. John Anastos, D.O., chairman of the department of radiology at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. "A CT exam requires a patient lie perfectly still, and can be very scary or intimidating to a child. About one-third of children scanned require sedation because they are unable to relax enough for a successful diagnostic exam. This can add six to eight hours of recovery time to a procedure that could be completed in 15 minutes."

From the moment they check-in to when they leave, paediatric patients make choices over the examination environment using Philips Ambient Experience unique leading-edge design elements, sophisticated lighting and consumer-friendly electronics. In the reception area at Lutheran General Children's Hospital, young patients select cartoons and animation themes to be projected on the wall and ceiling of the examination room, accompanied by corresponding music and sounds. Specialized lighting brings a wash of colour into the experience. All effects are triggered by the patient passing a radiofrequency identification (RFID) card over a reader in the suite.

Dr. Anastos stressed that the Ambient Experience CT suite is a significant step in improving the quality of patient care. "When the child is relaxed and comfortable in their environment, the need for sedation or repeat exams is reduced, which helps keep a young patient's radiation doses to a minimum."

The Philips team worked collaboratively with paediatric radiologists, nurses, technologists, engineers, lighting designers, architects and a child psychologist to develop Philips Ambient Experience at Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital. The team studied each phase of a radiology examination - from waiting room and preparation to the scan itself - to design the suite around the needs of patients and clinicians. The result is an innovative radiology suite that improves the quality of care by easing young patients' fears and anxieties because they can select and control the room's lighting, sound and visual images.

"Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital and Philips are using positive distraction to improve the design of the radiology suite", stated Rosalyn Cama, FASID, Board Chair of the Center for Health Design, a non-profit research and advocacy organisation consisting of health care and design professionals who are leading the quest to improve the quality of health care through building architecture and design. "There is significant scientific data that prove evidence-based hospital designs have a positive effect on health care outcomes. In fact, evidence-based designs are becoming the standard for new and renovated health care facility construction in the United States."

The Ambient Experience begins as soon as the patient arrives in the waiting room at Lutheran General Children's Hospital with the opportunity to interact with the "Philips Kitten Scan", a miniature CT scanner that is an educational resource for children. Children select a toy, place it on a miniature exam table and slide it into the Kitten Scan to learn why the toy is sick. Animation appears on a screen that shows children what doctors are looking for inside the toy and tells them a story about each one. The kid-sized scanner was designed by Philips to provide children with an opportunity to use a scanner themselves and learn how it works to help ease their minds about their own exam.

"Many of our customers are looking for ways to improve the hospital environment, which can be impersonal, functional, and clinical-looking, and may not put patients at ease", stated Brent Shafer, executive vice president and CEO, sales and service region for North America for Philips Medical Systems. "Our Ambient Experience concept draws on our expertise from across the entire company - in design, medical systems, lighting, consumer electronics and semiconductor technology - to create a friendly and reassuring environment tailored to each patient's individual needs. Improving the quality of people's lives is the foundation for our health care activities. And by building on the promise of the Philips brand - to deliver products that are designed around the user, easy to experience and advanced - we are the only company able to bring Ambient Experience to the marketplace."

The Ambient Experience CT suite at Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital is outfitted with a Philips Brilliance 16-slice CT system. The system is configured for paediatric imaging capable of producing diagnostic images of advanced motion-sensitive medical imaging applications, such as pulmonary and short-breath hold cardiac studies. The scanner also includes Philips DoseWise design, delivering optimal radiation dose efficiency without compromising image quality.

Philips Design Medical Team was recognized as a gold winner for its Ambient Experience for health care in the annual Industrial Design Excellence Award (IDEA) in the environment category. The contest is run independently by the Industrial Designers Society of America and sponsored by BusinessWeek magazine. The Industrial Design Excellence Awards are dedicated to fostering business and public understanding of the importance of industrial design excellence to the quality of life and the economy.

Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital, located on the campus of Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, is one of the largest and most comprehensive children's hospitals in Illinois, treating more than 3500 inpatients and 100.000 outpatients annually. It is the only children's hospital in the greater north and northwest suburban region of Chicago, and is a major regional referral centre for a broad range of infant and pediatric patients, especially those with complex illnesses and chronic conditions. Offering the most advanced treatment options, the children's hospital has paediatric specialists in virtually every medical and surgical field.

Royal Philips Electronics of The Netherlands is one of the world's biggest electronics companies and Europe's largest, with sales of 30,3 billion euro in 2004. With activities in the three interlocking domains of health care, lifestyle and technology and 159.700 employees in more than 60 countries, it has market leadership positions in medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring. More news about Philips is available in the VMW July 2005 article Philips new research facility targets Alzheimer's and Parkinson's with whole body MRI research system.


Leslie Versweyveld

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