Spatial, the award-winning immersive audio platform, is pleased to announce it has partnered with HealthTunes, a nonprofit digital streaming platform offering scientific-based MusicMedicine, and Catalyst by Wellstar, the global digital health and innovation center of nationally-ranked Atlanta-based healthcare system Wellstar. The partnership will focus on designing immersive sound environments that provide a respite for frontline healthcare workers in the hospital setting while helping reduce the stress and anxiety brought on by the overwhelming COVID-19 health crisis.
A recent Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 62% of healthcare workers responsible for providing direct care for COVID-19 patients reported challenging mental health repercussions. 55% reported feeling burnout (mental and physical exhaustion from chronic workplace stress) and 49% reported feeling anxious. Three in ten frontline workers considered leaving the healthcare field altogether, and 13% have sought out and received mental health services.
Spatial, along with HealthTunes and Catalyst by Wellstar are aiming to help reverse these trends through the healing power of sound. In this inaugural project, Catalyst by Wellstar, will be piloting Spatial technology in wellness rooms under construction at four of its medical centers. These rooms will function as therapeutic spaces for healthcare workers to relax and recharge in tranquil, completely immersive audio environments.
To make this happen, HealthTunes licensed their content and built fully immersive versions of the soundscapes on Spatial’s platform for hospital and wellness center deployments. HealthTunes incorporates auditory beat stimulation to increase the strength of positive brain waves through a process called entrainment. Through their proprietary algorithm, HealthTunes inlays binaural beats and isochronic tones into playlists to influence and entrain brain wave patterns which help decrease stress and anxiety, increase relation, improve sleep, and more.
“Evidence shows that experiential sound works effectively as a therapeutic tool, but it is vastly underutilized in practical settings,” said Hank Capps, MD FAAFP, Executive Vice President, Chief Information and Digital Officer of Wellstar Health System. “The immersive wellness rooms present an exciting opportunity for Wellstar to leverage the healing power of sound for our clinical team members. Thanks to Spatial’s technology, health systems are empowered to find innovative ways to promote the mental wellbeing of their teams while paving the way for the technology’s use in patient-facing settings.”
“Spatial’s software enables creators to design immersive experiences with sound as a core sensory modality, opening the door for independent researchers to study the impacts of sound on human emotion, recovery, therapy and more,” said Calin Pacurariu, co-founder and CEO of Spatial. “We are honored to work with HealthTunes and Catalyst by Wellstar to enable the healing power of sound to help frontline healthcare workers manage the stress and anxiety present in their daily work environment. As we continue to partner with leaders in the audio and health sectors, the possibilities for sound as a therapeutic tool are tremendous.”
MusicMedicine in Patient Care
In addition to this initial project that focuses on frontline healthcare workers, providing therapeutic sounds to help manage stress and anxiety brought on as a result of the pandemic, the teaming of Spatial and HealthTunes can transform patient treatment and care as well. The healing power of sound, via HealthTunes’ MusicMedicine, can be deployed in any hospital, long term care, or home-based environment using Spatial’s immersive audio platform and tools, addressing a target range of treatments including addiction, pain, chemo nausea, sensory issues, pre-surgery anxiety, and more.
Spatial’s technology is responsive to biosensors and can link to various different inputs and outputs (e.g., visual, olfactory, haptic, etc.). Thus, each patient’s experience is highly personalized and unique to their situation. Patients, along with caregivers, also can control the experience using an iPhone or iPad. Once an experience is set in motion, Spatial’s real-time platform can integrate with monitoring systems to track progress and outcomes — providing a feedback loop that paves the way for improved and more diverse therapeutic research and applications over time.
“The Spatial platform is a dynamic 3D experience, which makes it much more powerful and flexible for audio therapy purposes than a regular canned soundtrack,” said Walter Werzowa, Founder of HealthTunes. “A deeper sound immersion enables a higher efficacy of MusicMedicine.”