Most patients get a letter that tells them they're having an MRI exam.
This is often the first thing that triggers fear.
They're asked to enter into something unknown to get answers. That could be answers to questions they don't want to know. So they might not only fear the scanner but also what the scanner gives them.
- There is a fear of getting answers
- There is a fear of not getting answers
This means that this is a unique opportunity to educate and expose the patient to the MRI environment.
There are many pitfalls we can fall into.
- Don't have too much information
- Don't have too little information
- Don't rely on text alone
The worst example I've seen is 8 pages of text sent to the patient. The text was very difficult to read, and it didn't make much sense for the patient. Actually, it did make much sense for me either. Too much information, especially information you don't understand, can cause more fear than too little.
Still, if you don't have enough information you still end up causing uncertainty or fear.
What is quite common is to rely on text alone.
If you've created an MR Patient movie and/or a storybook, you can reuse the pictures to make it more attractive. You can even suggest that they search for the video on Youtube, or paste the link in the letter.
This will allow them to become aware that there is a movie, and the movie will give them the information they need to correctly deal with the procedure.
It's a small change, yet quite effective. And you bring all the work together.