MRI Accessories To Promote A Safe And Positive Environment

Written by Caleb Burch and Norman McPhail

Since MRI machines have been around, there has been constant progress to make scanners more efficient in order to help increase revenue for the facility.  The technology of today has allowed us to develop state of the art, MRI compatible accessories that can help make the experience better, safer and more profitable.  Two accessories that are commonly used today in the MRI Suite are Patient Safety Monitoring System (SAMM) and the Stereo System.

What makes an accessory MRI compatible?   All accessories used inside the magnet room (earphones, speakers, cameras and cables) must be fully dielectric (non-ferrous) and safe in an MRI environment.  Dielectric material is an electrical insulator that does not allow an electric field to flow through it, nor is it affected by the strong MRI magnet.  A special dielectric, non-ferrous transducer for the sound system ensures that the music and communication reach the patient without any safety concerns or image quality issues.  The transducer converts the electrical output into moving air – no metal speaker or cables/wires next to the patient.  The moving air delivers the audio signal through plastic tubes to a headset/microphone or speakers inside the scan room


The Patient Safety and Monitoring System (SAMM) is an MRI safe and compatible camera observation system that allows a technologist to monitor a patient while they are in the bore of the scanner.  It consists of a camera that can be mounted anywhere in the MRI suite, a single camera on one end or multiple cameras to view both sides of the magnet.  This camera then connects to a monitor placed in the operator room which displays high quality real time video to the technologist.  The system is simple and easy to install and set-up.

Being monitored by a SAMM System while receiving an MRI scan assists the patient in a couple of different ways.  Patients tend to feel more comfortable when they know that the technologist has a clear view of them.   Often time’s a patient can get restless during their MRI and can’t help but move; often times this movement goes unnoticed by the technologist and patients end up having to redo their scan.  When technologists have an easier time monitoring this movement they are able to pause the scan until the patient is ready to continue.  This saves time and money!

A happy patient makes for a happier technologist.  Benefits for the technologist don’t end there.  The installation of a monitoring system helps to make a technologist’s job easier in several ways.  First, when they’re able to monitor the patient better, they’re able to reduce motion artifacts in the final scan.  In addition, the technologist will be able to multi-task because they are able to view patients by simply viewing a screen versus looking through the traditional window.  The last but certainly not the least benefit I’d like to point out for technologists is that they will be spending less time on each patient, allowing them to see more patients, get more side work done, or even have shorter hours.

Of course, every benefit mentioned for both the patient and the technologist is also a benefit for the facility itself.  A happy patient is more likely to pay for the services they received in full, spread the word that they had a good experience, and even write a good review online.  Positive publicity is the best publicity.  Of course, the benefits for the facility go even further than that when they install the monitoring system.   The facility will be able to record EVERYTHING that happens in the MRI suite with the DVR option some monitoring systems include.  This added benefit can allow the site manager to review how well of a job their technologists are doing, provide answers when equipment suddenly breaks, or even provide protection in a potential lawsuit.


A sound system inside your MRI scanning room will help alleviate tension and promote relaxation for the patient.  A relaxed and entertained patient (not worried about lying still or loud noises), will be less likely to move, reducing re-scans and saving you time & money.

Most patients are nervous when getting an MRI and need a way to help take their mind off of the scan in order to help relax.  The sterile medical environment, the smell and the stress of a hospital room makes me nervous just thinking about it.   Music or a DVD will help lower the stress level.   Each patient is different and their comfort is always paramount.  Patients should always be encouraged to bring in their own music.  Always have music available that you have found to be helpful (waterfalls, rain) as well.

Important features to look for in an audio system are a combination CD and DVD Player, universal docking bracket for both Mp3 and iPod, remote control, earphones.   A desktop microphone is a valuable tool for every stereo system.  The microphone will allow the technician to talk to the patient during the scan.

Bottom line, get the right system.  Any accessory you add could interfere with your MRI image, so do your research.   Companies that make quality systems include Sound Imaging,, Newmatic Medical, and Universal Medical.  Prices range from $1,000 for a basic set-up to $6,000 for a complete system.

MRI Accessories will help boost your return on investment for your MRI.  Music will help put the patient at ease and promote a stress free scanning environment.  Video monitoring will identify problems as they happen in the scanning suite to help save time and boost the number of scans you can do per day.



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