GE Healthcare converted frightening medical scanners into interactive adventures to wipe out fear among children
The sight of a terrified little girl about to have an MRI scan gave Doug Dietz a different perspective on his work. Dietz is an industrial designer at GE Healthcare. Along with his colleague Erik Kemper, Dietz developed the idea of transforming the often-frightening process of MRI and CT scans into an adventure for children.
I had just finished designing a big MR scanner. MRIs made a terrible noise, and the little girl started to cry. The parents are looking at each other and they don’t have to say a word, because they don’t know how they’re going to get their child through this. Understanding that the environment where the scanning was done simply didn’t work for younger children was a wake-up call. It was also a new challenge, explained Dietz.
The idea that eventually emerged from a mix of brainstorming and research was to transform a frightening medical test into a voyage on a spaceship, a visit to a pirate island and other adventures. So far, GE Healthcare has turned imaging departments at 27 children’s hospitals into miniature theme parks.
Dietz found a whole new way to improve the lives of patients and their families. Opportunities for innovation open up the moment we use our creative problem-solving process with empathy toward our target audience. GE’s Adventure Series is a definite example of such creativity, which illustrates how human-centered design can lead to breakthrough innovations.