Dr Jacqueline Twamley, Academic Research and Innovation Manager at the Centre for Health Research & Innovation at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust administering MediMusic to Nurse Sheleen Armstrong at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital
Patients around the world will soon be prescribed soothing music chosen by artificial intelligence to ease their anxiety and pain, thanks to an encouraging trial of a health tech app on dementia patients.
British health tech start-up MediMusic has created an app and a streaming device called the MediBeat that dispenses personalised playlists to reduce anxiety and pain in patients using a ‘digital drip’ to administer the most calming music.
Initial clinical NHS trials at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, found the use of MediMusic saw an up to 22% reduction in heart rate in patients with dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It could revolutionise the treatment of dementia, pre/post operation, chronic pain, dentistry, and Alzheimer’s disease through to improving motor response as part of a physical rehabilitation programme.
Now the revolutionary treatment is undergoing further NHS trials at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, on 40 NHS doctors and nurses and other staff who have worked in critical care during the pandemic
According to a nationwide NHS Staff Survey with nearly 600,000 responses, almost half of NHS staff in England (44%) have reported feeling unwell from work related stress during 2020, the highest rate recorded in the past five years.
The MediMusic app works with the patient’s age, gender, nationality, and ethnicity and based on sociological and psychological science, it then compiles in seconds the perfect 20-minute playlist of soothing music to calm them.
Playlist running order is designed to reduce heart rate and stress hormones like cortisol and promotes relaxation through hormones like dopamine and oxytocin. The music is played through earphones and the MediBeat streaming device and a heart rate monitor worn on the wrist.
Dr Jacqueline Twamley,
Academic Research and Innovation Manager at the Centre for Health Research & Innovation at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
“The results have been very impressive. We used MediMusic on 25 patients suffering from dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic. One 75-year-old patient had vascular dementia and was known to have sundowning behaviour, which presents as agitation.
“The use of the MediMusic service saw a reduction in pre/post heart rate: 76bpm initially, settling at 60bpm, which was a reduction of 22%
“We believe that dispensing music as medicine could revolutionise the treatment of dementia and other similar neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
“The initial findings are so positive that we’re now looking at how it can help ease anxiety and stress in doctors and nurses working in critical care on the frontline of caring for Covid patients."
Nurse Sheleen Armstrong. Sister working as part of the critical care outreach team
“I was really intrigued about seeing how music could help to ease stress. As you can imagine it’s been a very stressful time working in the NHS during Covid.
After listening to the playlist, I felt so relaxed and de-stressed.
“I definitely believe there is a future in using these personalised playlists in helping to ease anxiety and pain in patients and staff.”
In case, you wondered, Nurse Sheleen Armstrong’s playlist:
- Thank You – Dido
- Torn – Natalie Imbruglia
- Ocean Drive – Lighthouse Family
- Runaway – The Corrs
- Say What You Want - Texas
How MediMusic works
The brain responds to music more than any other stimulus. MediMusic’s proprietary algorithms extract the relevant features from the digital DNA of a piece of music, resulting in a fingerprint for healthcare use.
Using Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and the data about the patient, it then automatically creates playlists from music streaming services within a couple of clicks and plays the music through a streaming device via a pair of headphones.
Each chosen track is ‘heartrate optimised’ to reduce anxiety, stress or pain, improve quality of life and streamline healthcare workflow.
A heart rate monitor worn on the wrist allows MediMusic to monitor the physiological effect of a piece of music upon a listener.
MediMusic’s ‘Digital Drip’ uses Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to swap out forthcoming playlist tracks to invoke slower relaxation if required.
Gary Jones. CEO and co-founder of MediMusic
“With MediMusic, we’ve managed to digitally fingerprint the DNA of music so we can prescribe the right type of music as medicine.
Doctors, nurses and care home workers will be able to monitor the effect of the music in a clinical environment and see the benefits for themselves.
Now we want to see if we can help NHS staff combat work stress. Stress is believed to account for over 30% of sickness absence in the NHS, costing the service up to £400 million per year.
Using MediMusic also means we could reduce the use of drugs in treating anxiety and pain in patients by up to a quarter.
Dispensing music as medicine is going to revolutionise the treatment of people in pain and stress at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.”