Free advice from expert bloggers


David Armano is a Creative Director at Digitas, where clients presumably pay the big bucks for his creative ideas for business. Today on his blog, he offers a free sample for hospitals, based on his experience getting an MRI. David learned firsthand how unpleasant the process is, and he offers some ideas of how to improve it.

First, notice that David's bio lists his specialty as experience design. Granted, he works in online experience, but this is clearly someone whose profession is to think about how customers will react to a given situation. For the MRI, he has a few suggestions:

  • Plan the first impression down to a every last detail.
  • Make the MRI equipment room as pleasant as possible.
  • Have the operator slowly prepare you.
  • Provide “sensory aides”

You might come up with the first two points if you were to combine some empathy with a little bit of visual creativity. Point three is just applied sensitivity. Shouldn't be revolutionary, but apparently it is. I don't mean to diminish the value of David's points; it's just a sad observation that hospitals have to be reminded to consider patients' emotional response to the hospital setting.

The last point is a great example of cross-pollination. David suggests introducing pleasant scents (it works for hotels, so why not try it?) and offering a cool or warm blindfold. The science of scent and emotional response works in a marketing context; how about trying it in a healthcare setting?

Here's a creative pro suggesting something that has worked in other industries, and it's free for any hospital or imaging center who happens to read it. Or they can pay their own consultants to come up with the same idea (perhaps by reading David's post?).

Of course, there's also open MRI, if you want to address the problem through your capital budget.


Thanks for expanding this. I'm glad my last set of recommendations stuck with you. Sometimes innovation can be small. I'm really grateful this technology exists. We live in remarkable times. But I can't tell you how unprepared I was for that "coffin effect" It was really pretty bad, and I honestly feel that these small suggestions would have made all the difference.

My post could have been about how far we have come in this type of practice. But unfortunately it was the opposite. I hope some company takes me up on the "aromatherapy" idea. I really think it can make a difference.

All of your suggestions stuck with me. It's just that the last set was the biggest departure from what might be considered best practice. I can see the value of taking a creative view of the patient's first impression and overall experience, but thinking of scents and the tactile aspects of blindfolds strikes me as more different. That's the kind of thing you get from cross-pollination—taking an idea from industry A and applying it in industry B.

Open MRI may be a big part of the answer—eventually, assuming it works as well as the enclosed versions. But it's a big investment, and your suggestions don't require lots of money. Hospitals have applied hotel ideas to make their childbirth centers more attractive; maybe they'll consider doing something similar for the MRI.

If you go for a Upright MRI scan you can sit and watch TV while be scanned click my name for that info. a NEAR ZERO PATIENT Rejection rate

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About Nathan Gilliatt

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  • Voracious learner and explorer. Analyst tracking technologies and markets in intelligence, analytics and social media. Advisor to buyers, sellers and investors. Writing my next book.
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