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New Technology Provides OHSU Patients a "Window to the World" While Undergoing CT Imaging

Research shows Ambient Technology reduces stress for patients, enabling technicians to capture clearer images.

Some Oregon Health & Science University patients who require a CT scan as part of their care now have a virtual window to the world thanks to new technology aimed at reducing patient stress. Ambient Technology helps transform once-bland CT rooms into a multimedia experience through large video images projected on the ceiling and walls along with specialized lighting and sounds aimed at calming anxious patients.

Patients who need CT scans are given the choice of room themes, including ocean vistas and peaceful mountain scenes. The themes are activated and the room transforms when the patient swipes a card on a wall sensor as they enter.

There are also calming themes specifically designed for children who are more likely to become stressed during the CT scanning process. When a patient is required to hold their breath as part of the imaging process, they are instructed to do so by the computer program.

“For many, a hospital visit is very stressful. The goal of this technology is to help reduce that stress,” explained Erwin Schwarz, director of Radiology at OHSU Hospital. “Research conducted by another hospital with Ambient Technology has shown that fewer patients require sedatives to relieve stress while undergoing CT scans. The technology will also likely lead to clearer images because when patients are calmer, they tend to remain more still during the imaging process.

“The Ambient Technology is an example of the way in which new medical facilities are being designed to be functional while also promoting both patient comfort and ease. In this case, our imaging staff is already reporting higher patient satisfaction and comfort levels.”

About OHSU

Oregon Health & Science University is the state’s only health and research university, and Oregon’s only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government), with 12,400 employees. OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.

As a leader in research, OHSU earned $307 million in research funding in fiscal year 2007. OHSU serves as a catalyst for the region's bioscience industry and is an incubator of discovery, averaging one new breakthrough or innovation every three days, with more than 4,100 research projects currently under way. OHSU disclosed 132 inventions in 2007 alone, and OHSU research resulted in 33 new spinoff companies since 2000, most of which are based in Oregon.

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