Turn Up The AC/DC, I'm Going Into Surgery!


I’ve always loved the Beatles, while being indifferent at best to AC/DC.

So it was a bit jarring to learn that if I must undergo an operation in the future, the surgical team may very well be blasting out AC/DC while I’m under anesthesia.

When I first saw the press release suggesting this, I needed to check the calendar to make sure it wasn’t already April Fool’s Day.

But no, a real study out of Germany compared how surgeons performed with the Beatles playing to how they fared under the influence of AC/DC. And the hard rockers won!

Armed with these results, the Klick Health agency -- on behalf of its client NextMed Health -- has created an AC/DC-soundalike album, called “Highway to Heal” (a play on the band’s breakthrough 1979 album “Highway to Hell”) along with an AI-powered radio station, Lifesaving Radio.

A limited number of attendees at this week’s NextMed Health conference in San Diego received the vinyl album, which comes in hospital-scrub blue with a cover showing a metal scalpel in the form of a lightning bolt.

And come April, surgical teams everywhere can use Lifesaving Radio to serve up customized playlists, each of which will include the 11 songs from “Highway to Heal” along with other music similar in tempo.

NextMed Health, which runs a platform for healthcare innovation in addition to its annual conference, saw Lifesaving Radio as “the convergence of music, medicine, and AI technology,” a Klick Health representative tells Pharma & Health Insider. “They also saw Lifesaving Radio as the perfect fit to kick off and create awareness/excitement for their event and contribute to the AI conversation in a productive and playful way.”

How will NextMed Health market Lifesaving Radio? The group expects hundreds of healthcare professionals, scientists and public health experts who attended this week’s conference to serve as ambassadors. NextMed Health is also using video, social media and media relations, along with the perspectives of several surgeons:

“I love how “Highway to Heal” can help our surgical teams achieve a nonverbal flow state to reach peak surgical performance, ultimately improving patient outcomes,” says one of those surgeons: Robert Masson, M.D., F.A.C.S, a neurological spine surgery specialist.

“Surgery is like a well-tuned chamber orchestra communicating with movements and gestures, not necessarily words,” says Vonda Wright, M.D., M.S., F.A.O.A. an orthopedic sports medicine surgeon.

Those statements and others helped convince me that maybe this whole AC/DC thing won’t be so bad.  My own future surgeon should apparently be more efficient scalping along to hard rock than if, let’s say, “Yesterday” was playing.

But then I learned that an artificial intelligence deejay will accompany the music, providing shout-outs and commentary between tracks.

While willing to concede that a doctor asking for an emergency thingamajig over AC/DC-type music might somehow be feasible, I just don’t know about doc talking over a guy, or rather an AI, whose sample broadcast includes Top 40-style patter like “When you’re cutting’, we’re rockin’!” and other lines like “This one rocks so hard, your patient might just wake up!”

And what exactly will happen when the surgeon hears his own name shouted out while his scalpel’s in my whatever? Let’s hope they don’t jump up and down in glee!

Yes, the playlists will be customized. The names of the surgical team members, their facility and the procedure type must be submitted to get the music.

What doesn’t need to be submitted is any payment. Nor will Lifesaving Radio sell ads, as the service is said to be completely free, courtesy of NextMed Health.

So get used to it. The heavy beat of Lifesaving Radio is coming to save your heartbeat or other body parts.

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