• Krishna Mannava, MD

The Power of Music in the Pandemic


America is poised to open up. There is a definite palpable energy out there on the roads, in our virtual meetings and at the workplace. We are ready to get after it again, this time with renewed energy and spirit. We had possibly our busiest day at Vive Vascular yesterday, loaded with complex patients and procedures. At the end of the day we were exhausted, but all of us realized something had been keeping us moving and efficient. At our afternoon huddle we figured it out. It was great music flowing through our clinic and procedural areas. At one point we were all synchronously humming the 35 year old hit, Kyrie by Mr. Mister (I’ll admit I still don’t know the words).

This got me thinking further about the role of music not only in the COVID-19 pandemic but in medical & surgical settings in general. Traditionally music has been integral in operating rooms but the process of bringing in a mix, or firing up a playlist or even setting a station on Pandora will no longer possible. With the concerns about sterility and infection spread, who wants to have their phone or device handled by another co-worker? For some surgeons and surgical teams, music is essential to the flow of cases and turnovers. I have been operating throughout the pandemic and have noticed a hollowness in the ORs when I’m at the hospital.

This is where the beauty and simple genius of Amazon comes in. We have been using Alexa since the opening of our OBL in February and I must say, it has been a huge hit (pun intended). Patients love requesting their music of choice and the experience of simply asking them for their request and relaying it to Alexa creates a sense of control for them in an operating room where they have little control. It’s a beautiful system and the speaker is never physically touched and our devices remain in our pockets. The music can then follow the patient to recovery or they can have a completely different, tailored recovery experience. Alexa is hipaa compliant as of 2019 and while I have to dig a little deeper into this, privacy does not seem to be an issue.

Infusing music throughout the workplace has been a unifying and energizing element for our team and our patients and has helped us through these tough times and is something we want to continue to expand as we grow. It may be a much needed solution for many ORs out there to get back in the groove (another pun intended). For those of you who do know the lyrics to the Mr. Mister song, “Kyrie Eleison, where I'm going, will you follow”?

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