Royal Philips, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and The Walt Disney Company EMEA are teaming up to test the effects of custom-made animation, including specially made Disney stories, within Philips Ambient Experience, a solution that integrates architecture, design, and enabling technologies—such as dynamic lighting, video projections, and sound—to allow patients and staff to personalize their environment to create a relaxing atmosphere. Philips’ clinical research project will commence this summer in six hospitals across Europe and the results of the pilot project will be completed later this year. It is the first time Disney has collaborated as part of a clinical research project of this kind.
Philips will investigate how Philips Ambient Experience—using a series of animated stories, including some of Disney’s most beloved characters—can improve the patient and clinician experience during pediatric MRI procedures. Philips Ambient Experience will render six pieces of original, stylized Disney animation—created specially by Disney animators for use in hospitals with clinical guidance from Philips—intended to reduce fear and anxiety often felt by a child in the MRI process.
The Disney animation features characters like Mickey Mouse, Ariel, Marvel’s Avengers, Star Wars’ Yoda, and others, coming together in a diagnostic setting for the first time. The goal of the research pilot is to help alleviate children’s anxiety, create bonds, and improve the staff’s ability to carry out their tasks in MRI scanning rooms across six leading European hospitals.
Philips Clinical Expertise Meets Disney Storytelling
Medical exams like MRI scans can be challenging for many patients, especially children, who are anxious or claustrophobic. Philips Ambient Experience—with 2,000 installations worldwide—helps manage these challenges by creating an engaging, multi-sensorial imaging environment that is welcoming and relaxing. Patients can personalize the room’s lighting, video, and sound by selecting a theme of their choice. This gives them a feeling of empowerment and control over the procedure and provides a positive focus on the ambient theme.
Ambient Experience Patient In-bore Connect helps them relax, follow directions, and minimize motion once they are in the scanner using video content aligned with the MRI procedure to provide information and guidance to the patient during scanning as well as information about scan duration. This becomes increasingly important for younger pediatric patients undergoing MR scans who need to remain still to help reduce the need for repeat scans. Philips Ambient Experience is proven to help improve efficiency with higher patient throughput and predictability, significantly reducing the need for retakes and rescans.
The collaboration brings together Philips’ vast clinical knowledge and expertise combined with a deep understanding of patient needs with Disney’s masterful storytelling. It will allow children to select Disney content featuring their favorite character to help provide them with a sense of familiarity, control, and comfort. From joining Aladdin and Jasmine on a magical carpet ride to gently swinging through city skyscrapers with Spiderman, each story is specially designed to calm and support the child through their experience.
“A visit to the hospital can be quite intimidating for people, and especially children, where a more patient-friendly, patient-centric environment could help improve the patient experience and help drive first-time-right imaging for improved outcomes,” says Kees Wesdorp, chief business leader of precision diagnosis at Philips. “With this pilot study, we will investigate the impact of Philips Ambient Experience including Disney’s specially developed themes to empower children with a positive experience to help them throughout the medical procedure. Philips has always taken a human-centric approach to healthcare. Together, we can make a real difference for thousands of young patients going through medical procedures each day.”
“I have seen first-hand that MRI scans can be intimidating for children, and I like how focused Philips is on the patient experience,” says Jan Koeppen, president, the Walt Disney Company, EMEA. “At Disney, we look forward to complementing Philips’ MRI experience with our stories and characters. We are excited to see the results of the clinical research and to quantify the impact our characters can have in this environment.”
In a recent study carried out by the New Economics Foundation, it was identified that in addition to creating a positive experience, the well-known Disney characters help build trust for children in anxious circumstances. The research also identifies that, through the power of Disney’s storytelling and characters, it can inspire and create positive feelings, experiences, and memories, helping children and young people to cope where and when they need it most.
Disney has a long history of bringing magic and storytelling to children’s hospitals and places of care across the world. In 2018, Disney announced a further commitment of $100 million to help reimagine the patient journey for children in hospitals around the world as part of their global Social Purpose program.