Kings College Hospital launches virtual reality app for MRI scans

Kings College Hospital has launched 'My MRI' - a free virtual reality app designed to mitigate patients' fears ahead of an MRI scan. Designed by physician Dr. Jonathan Ashmore and learning specialist Jerome DiPetro, the app provides users with a 360-degree experience of the process of having an MRI scan. 'My MRI' is primarily designed for children, although can be accessed by anyone through the Google Play Store.

The virtual reality footage begins with a tour of a hospital, providing navigation buttons that enable the patient to move between the building, waiting room and MRI operating theater. A physician subsequently greets the patient and explains the medical procedure, before the scan begins.

Throughout the app's design process, its creators repeatedly consulted children for feedback on the virtual reality experience. The video footage is from a child's perspective, notably playing the kids movie Monsters Inc during the virtual MRI scan.

As 10-year-old Matthew Downe said:

“I think it will calm children down if they’re getting a bit worked up. [...] The app lets you look around so you get to see your surroundings and experience it before you actually have the scan. [...] It’s a good way for them to get ready and prepare for it.”

It is evident that Dr. Ashmore and DiPetro made every effort to make the footage as tailored to the environment of Kings College Hospital as possible. Dr. Ashmore has suggested that numerous hospitals could utilize the technology to upload their own videos, specific to their building environment. The team is also expected to release a tablet version of the app, aimed at patients with neurological impediments who are unable to take advantage of virtual reality.

Source: Play Store

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