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Putting Control Of Mammograms In Women’s Hands, Literally

Addressing the pain and anxiety caused by mammograms: Senographe PristinaTM

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The best chance of early detection of breast cancer is a mammogram. But for many women the number one reason they don´t schedule a mammogram is because of the fear and anxiety from the potential result and exam discomfort.

That’s why Aurelie Boudier, Global Creative Director Brand & Design Language for Global Design at GE Healthcare, developed the idea for Senographe Pristina.

“My challenge was how to totally change the perception of mammography, especially for the patient,” she says.

“As women, we all know [breast cancer] could happen to anybody,” she says. “Pristina has the best of our technology, but it was also inspired by empathy with women.”

Patient_in_scanPutting the patient in control

 One of the key design features is the industry’s first self-compression tool*, that is intended to make exams more comfortable for patients.

With the self-compression remote, the patient is given a remote control and can self-adjust the amount of compression pressure, under a technologist’s supervision, empowering her to have some control during the exam.

“We know that compression can be painful,” Boudier says. “This device is more comfortable and the design helps improve patient comfort during detection. Because the detector is thinner with rounded corners, patients say that it’s more comfortable because there’s less coming in contact with their bare skin.”

Senographe Pristina’s design also changes the way a patient is positioned. Instead of women projecting their stress on handles, grabbing them too firmly, which tenses pectoral muscles and has an impact on image quality, they can lean comfortably on the armrests, relaxing the muscles to simplify positioning, compression and image acquisition.

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Aurelie Boudier, Global Creative Director Brand & Design Language for Global Design at GE Healthcare with the new senographe Pristina

This reconsidered philosophy of patient positioning is a totally different approach, according to Boudier.

These new compression techniques and positioning options are a powerful combination. “In terms of patient perception and patient comfort.”

Feedback throughout the process

With empathy at the center of this product, part of the design process was working closely with patients, technologists and radiologists from Gustave Roussy Cancer Center in Paris, France, one of the largest cancer treatment centers in Europe. These key stakeholders gave GE critical input to ensure the system addressed clinicians’ and patients’ concerns.

Senographe Pristina also incorporates calming colors and smooth shapes again to help reduce patient anxiety and make the mammogram a more positive experience.

“It’s not Hello Kitty or Barbie pink,” Boudier says with a laugh. “It’s a soft, metallic pink – a more mature pink, inspired by cosmetics and the automotive industry.”

Boudier says initial users are optimistic that the system will help inspire women to come back for screening every two years. “We’ve gotten very good feedback,” she says. “Physicians say patients are pleased with the machine.”

202_planesMore than mammography

Senographe Pristina is part of GE Healthcare’s commitment to the SensorySuite, which simultaneously stimulates at least three of a woman’s senses – scent, sight and sound – and improves the experience globally in an immersive strategy to help reduce the perceived discomfort, pain and anxiety of a mammogram.

Boudier says this “innovative design approach” was a deliberate design choice.

“We really considered not only clinicians, but every user – the technologist and the patient,” she says. “I know that our team did our job if more women are going for their annual mammograms and aren’t scared to walk into the room and do the exam. It’s such an important part of maintaining a healthy life and I want it to be a less painful experience for women around the world.”

*510(k) pending at the FDA. Not available for sale in the United States.