Is Minnesota Public Radio getting into the health care business? Or is Mayo Clinic getting into the music business?

Last week, the Rochester-based Mayo and St. Paul-based MPR announced a collaboration that will offer classical music programming in patient rooms at Mayo hospitals in Rochester, Phoenix and Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Paul Scanlon, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Dolores Jean Lavins Center for Humanities in Medicine, said that the music programming will be available as a new channel on TV sets in patient rooms.
 
Brian Newhouse, MPR’s managing director for classical music, said that the public radio broadcaster first approached Mayo Clinic about the concept in 2013. Newhouse recalled that a fellow MPR staffer called his attention to a then-current article in the Journal of the American Medical Association about a study, which found that music could help reduce anxiety and reduce the need for sedation for critically ill patients.
 
Newhouse said that MPR is selecting music to promote relaxation. Don’t expect any loud fanfares or blasting brass sections.
 
“Classical music is huge in its emotional range of impact,” said Newhouse. “This content that we’re providing to Mayo is very specially programmed and curated by our staff to be relatively slow, calm, quiet.”
 
Scanlon said that the pace of the music will be between 50 and 70 beats per minute, a meditative range of tempos.
 
The music will be drawn from MPR’s “Relax Stream,” which is one of the streaming options available through its YourClassical.org web site. Newhouse says that no money changes hands between Mayo and MPR in the arrangement. The partnership is the first of its kind for MPR, said Newhouse.

“This is unique. Certainly in health care, this is the first we’ve done,” said Newhouse.
 
But MPR retains the flexibility for partnerships with other organizations or health systems. Newhouse said that its contract with Mayo is a “non-exclusive arrangement.” 
 
Scanlon said that the new arrangement with MPR will extend arts-related programming for Mayo patients, visitors, staff and students.
 
“We certainly know the benefits of music for our patients,” says Scanlon. “This is an opportunity to expand the offerings.”
 
Mayo’s Humanities in Medicine center was founded in the 1980s and has included theater performances, visual art exhibits and other programs. Scanlon said that the Harmony For Mayo series, which features a weekly live music performance, was launched in 1999.
 
“There’s a number of studies that support the benefits of arts programming in health care in general,” says Scanlon. “It’s an exciting and rapidly developing field.”

Like what you just read? To receive business news directly in your inbox each Tuesday and Thursday, sign up for our free e-newsletter, Briefcase, and be sure to join the conversation by commenting below.