How to Choose the Right Music for Your Medical Office

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When patients gather in your waiting room, they will spend about 19 minutes waiting for your appointment to start, according to Becker's Hospital Review. With each minute that ticks by, your patients are thinking about the other things they'd rather do. They may also be concerned about what will happen and what you will say when the appointment officially begins.

Keeping that wait time short is the best way to keep your patients happy with you, your staff, and your organization. But medical emergencies can, and often do, put your carefully calibrated schedule at risk. When that happens, your patients simply must wait.

How can you make that wait a little less stressful? Through the use of music. The right playlist can help to keep your patients entertained while they wait for you. That music can also help your appointments and procedures move smoothly.

Here's what to think about as you choose music for your medical office.

Smoothing the Wait with Music

How do you kill time at home? If you're like most Americans, you turn on the television and scroll through the channels, looking for something to watch. The right television show can keep you so engaged that you don't even notice the moments passing by.

It might seem reasonable to play television shows in your medical office, but as writers on the blog Medical Bag point out, a television program can send out two messages that have the potential to irritate your customers.

First, television shows must be played at a loud volume in order to be heard. Whispered dialogue, important background noises, and quiet music can all get lost if the volume is turned down low. That means you'll need to keep the volume of a television show turned up high, so it won't turn into annoying background noise. But a television turned up loud can keep some of your patients from reading, answering email messages, talking to friends, or other activities they might enjoy in order to pass the time.

In addition, the presence of a television suggests that the wait will be long. You're inviting people to settle into the plot of a show, which means they should expect to see that show through to the end. Some of your consumers might get angry at the mere sight of a television.

Music is different. When played at the right volume, people can focus on the sound if they choose to do so. People can also tune that music out if they're engaged in another activity.

In a study about music in the waiting room, published in the British Journal of General Practice, researchers found that the majority of both patients and staff preferred music to silence in the waiting room, and 56 percent of patients and 67 percent of staff named classical music as their top genre choice.

Classical music may not be your choice of music to listen to at home, but for a casual listener in the waiting room, that music might seem:

  • Professional
  • Inoffensive
  • Slightly unfamiliar
  • Classy

These are attributes you might like your patients to associate with your brand. Playing that music in your waiting room helps to introduce them to the experience you want them to have whenever they associate with your brand.

Other Ways to Use Music

Your patients don't spend the entirety of their visit in your waiting room. At some point, they move away from that room and into a space where they can interact with you. Music might also play a role here.

During a traditional office visit, you may be talking about very sensitive issues with your patients, and you won't want the music to interfere with your conversation. But there are times when you're doing something as a medical professional, and you'd like your patients to focus on something else. Music could play a role here.

You could use music to:

  • Entertain patients while their teeth are cleaned.
  • Distract children during vaccines.
  • Soothe patients during blood draws.
  • Keep patients company in MRI machines.

Music can even be helpful during surgical procedures. Research quoted by Harvard Medical School suggests that music can reduce the need for medications during surgery. In a study of 80 patients going through surgery with spinal anesthesia, those who listened to music used fewer self-applied sedative doses during the procedure than those who had no music to listen to.

Researchers quoted by Time say that music isn't always benign. In general, calming music has a slow tempo, gradual chord progressions, and long notes. But one person's slow could be another person's fast. When the wrong music is played, it can cause agitation rather than calm.

If you have the option to do so, allowing patients to choose their own music could help them to experience the benefits you want without the side effects of irritation.

Research quoted by Harvard Medical School suggests that music can reduce the need for medications during surgery.

Take Care of Legal Issues

The music you play in your medical office may seem personal, and it might even seem intimate. But in the eyes of the law, each song is considered a performance, and they are protected by copyright laws.

Those laws may not protect classical music composers, as their work fell into the public domain years ago. But the laws might have protections for the musicians and conductors who participated in the performance. Modern music performances may have copyright protections for song writers, musicians, producers, and more.

In order to play music safely, you'll need to pay the organizations that hold the copyrights. Failure to do so can result in steep fines. According to AAP News, each performance could come with a fine of up to $150,000.

At Cloud Cover Music, we can negotiate those copyright contracts for you, so you can play the music your patients want to hear, and you can avoid crippling fees.

It's easy to get started. Connect with us, and we'll help you find the right music to play at a price you can afford.

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