Disney works with Philips to bring characters to life within MRI machines for kids


Royal Philips has partnered with The Walt Disney Company to test the effects of custom-made animation , including specially-made Disney stories, within Philips Ambient Experience. Philips Ambient Experience  is a solution that integrates architecture, design and enabling technologies, such as dynamic lighting, video projections and sound, to allow patients and staff to personalise their environment to create a relaxing atmosphere. Philips’  clinical research project will commence across 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, stylised 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 such as 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.

According to a release by Philips, this comes as medical exams such as MRI scans can be challenging for many patients, especially children, who are anxious or claustrophobic. As such Philips Ambient Experience aims to create an engaging, multi-sensorial imaging environment that is welcoming and relaxing. Patients can personalise the room’s lighting, video, and sound by selecting a theme of their choice.

The collaboration brings together Philips’ clinical knowledge and expertise combined with a deep understanding of patient needs with Disney’s storytelling. It will allow children to select Disney content featuring their favourite character to help provide them with a sense of familiarity, control and comfort.

“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,” said 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,” said 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 identified 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.