3 Studies on the Cost Benefits of Music Therapy

Dated references to 90's movies aside, let's face it: budgets are tight right now. Doesn't matter if you're an individual, family, or healthcare facility. Whether you're state-funded, non-profit, or a privately held, starting new programs and hiring new people might just be out of the question until economic conditions improve.

But what if the program you were starting would actually save money? Better yet, what if it saved money without sacrificing quality of care? Better still, what if it improved quality of care? Got your attention?


We talk a lot on here about the benefits of music therapy for an individuals health and well-being, be it in individual private therapy settings or in hospitals, assisted living facilities, or clinics. But starting a music therapy program at a facility does bring new costs. We tip toe around the subject of finances in therapy sometimes because we all have therapist hearts, but let's face it, sometimes you just gotta say (all together now):

"Show me the money!"

Oh, I'll show you the money. What are the benefits of music therapy for a healthcare facilities bottom line? Can it save money while simultaneously improving outcomes?

Read on, Dear Reader. Here are 3 studies that support the cost benefits of music therapy:


Music therapy reduces cost per patient in hospice music therapy by $2,984.

In this study, music therapy reduced costs per patient by almost three thousand dollars. The program itself cost $3615, resulting in a cost-benefit ratio of .83. When using cost-per-patient-day, the ratio improves to .95. This indicates that in a hospice setting, music therapy is a cost-effective way to improve patient experiences.


Music therapy for procedural support slashes cost of echocardiogram in children by $74.24 per procedure.

By using a music therapist, children were able to complete echocardiograms without the need for medication and an RN, reducing costs by $74.24 per procedure. Nice!


NICU music therapy cuts an average of $10,000 off costs of a NICU stay.

That's a lotta cash! Saves the hospital money, saves the family money, saves everyone paying an insurance premium every month money, and most importantly, better outcomes for baby!


Noise Levels in the Hospital

This morning, I was watching the Today Show on NBC, pondering what I could post for Friday's blog.  Suddenly, the anchor introduced a study out of Yale that discussed noise levels in hospital rooms.  Why, thank you, NBC!

The Yale study found that noise levels in ICU rooms 83db every hour from midnight to 4:00am.  This far exceeds the recommended the 30db limit recommended by the World Health Organization.  These noise levels resulted in disrupted sleep, and could further be linked to delirium and immune dysfunction.

As music therapists, studies such as these are important for us to note.  Not many of us are administering our services between the hours of midnight and 4:00am, but knowing that many of our clients in hospitals did not sleep well the night before, we must be wary of our noise level to be considerate of those around us who might be catching up on rest.

But there's another interesting caveat to this study.  A 2006 study found that live music therapy services in the NICU resulted in lowered heart rate and deeper sleep in stable preterm infants 30-minutes after the music therapy sessions ended.  Live music therapy was preferred by both medical personell and parents compared to recorded or no music therapy.

While more research is needed in order to generalize these studies to other populations outside of preterm infants, it is interesting that we have two separate studies: one that concludes ICU patients are experiencing disrupted sleep, and another that concludes music therapy aids sleep in a specific population.

Ready to try music therapy at your healthcare facility?  Contact us today to get started!