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August 16, 2017

Rock 'n' roll all night, and operate every day: Rock is the preferred soundtrack for the OR

Daily Briefing

According to a new survey from the health care app company Figure 1 and the music-streaming service Spotify, surgeons prefer to listen to rock music while operating, followed closely by pop and classical music.

Assess where you stand on surgical services

Figure 1 surveyed registered users of the company's health care app in June 2017 to ask about their listening habits in the OR. They received responses from almost 700 surgeons and other health care professionals from more than 50 countries—though the majority of responses came from the United States.

According to the survey, a vast majority—90 percent—of surgeons and surgical residents listen to music during surgeries, and 89 percent of them prefer listening to playlists rather than albums. Nearly one-third of the respondents said that they rotate between more than five playlists in their OR.

The survey found that while operating:

  • 49 percent of surgeons listen to rock music;
  • 48 percent listen to pop music;
  • 43 percent listen to classical music;
  • 24 percent listen to jazz; and
  • 21 percent listen to R&B music.

The survey also found that, among anesthesiologists, anesthesiology residents, and certified nurse anesthetists, pop music (59 percent) is more popular than rock music (44 percent).

A calming effect

"People's lives are in my hands, and listening to rock puts me in a comfortable place so my full attention is on my patients," said Alan Benvenisty, a vascular and transplant surgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. "I listen to bands from my youth, and the feeling of nostalgia brings me to a calm, focused place."

Other respondents agreed that listening to music in the OR helps them relax. "It calms the nerves and improves staff morale," said one surgeon. Another added, "At times it keeps the room mellow and coordinated, and at other times it keeps the pace up."

Many surgeons said they'll take requests for music to play, especially from patients who are awake during procedures. "We do C-sections where the patients are awake," said one doctor. "If they have a preference, we go with what they want. If not, we have fun with it and play name that tune from old TV shows, old songs, etc."

The doctors did specify that safety is always a priority, and that music is always turned down during critical portions of the surgery and whenever complications arise (Spotify, 8/1).

Where do you stand on surgical services?


With OR revenues critical to the success of your organization, assuming you have the tools to run an effective OR will not suffice. The necessity for vision setting, communication, and surgeon engagement is an ever-rising bar that many hospitals are not hitting.

We've compiled a comprehensive checklist that helps you assess whether or not your surgery department has the resources it needs to maximize volumes and improve OR efficiency.

Download the Checklist

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