“Another painful procedure without relief!” Unfortunately, those words are heard all too often as patients go about the painful process of healing in today’s modern hospitals. However, a simple design related intervention can make all of the difference to millions of patients each year by significantly reducing the need for pain medication for those patients undergoing routine invasive procedures, as well as lowering sedation medication for those patients about to undergo surgery. And for psychiatric patients, whose mental anguish can be just as painful as a physical procedure, this one simple design related intervention can actually relax patients to the point that 87% of the 6,000 patients enrolled in a recent Danish study DIDN’T EVEN REQUIRE MEDS to calm down and sleep pain free.

So why are you not familiar with this simple, evidence-based design intervention for patient and procedural rooms? If the phrase “It’s not my job” is your answer, I’d like you to remember another phrase: “ Ignorance is not a defense”, as this could very well apply to the professional designer as the evidence in support of this pain reduction modality is growing. And with recent articles in the mainstream media and professional journals, it may soon be the norm to routinely include this evidence-based design related intervention in every healthcare facility, if only to reduce the long-term costs of pain medication themselves!

Puzzled? Never heard of this miracle design intervention for reducing pain medication, lowering blood pressure, and mitigating pain and suffering? Could it be a new technological paint or wallcovering? Or how about a high-tech floor covering that not only kills bacteria but effectively stops a patient’s pain in its tracks? Nope, nothing as advanced nor Sci-Fi as that, but rather an elegantly simple, low-tech ambient design feature that’s as ancient and human-centered as time itself: music. And guess whose job it will be to design and plan for the necessary wiring, speakers, acoustics, and selection devices that every treatment room, patient room, and surgical suite will require in order to effectively transmit vibratory sound and audible music as a modality for pain mitigation and relief? … You guessed it!