What is the Musician Wellness Project?


The Musician Wellness Project (MWP) is a consortium of organizations that promote musician health, wellness, education, and research through the implementation of music screening, exposure tracking, and injury surveillance. This goal is to promote injury prevention, career longevity, effective and efficient training, and assist musicians, music educators, and medical professional who interface with musicians. The main goal of the MWP is to provide the technological infrastructures and other resources needed to facilitate and support the myriad projects of participating organizations/affiliates.

Central to the MWP is its commonly-shared website which provides the mechanisms for data entry and analysis, the generation of unique personalized profiles with recommended cross training protocols, customized self-reported data collection modules, coded data export for research purposes, and an automated system to collect extrinsic risk factors data. The MWP website provides linkages between screening, exposure, and injury data and other various data modules. Though initially developed as a teaching tool, the MWP website now facilitates multi-institutional research collaborations as well as provides an extensive database for many affiliates. Robust data protection mechanisms have been developed including the utilization of industry-standard data encryption of transmitted data, multilevel administrative accounts, and redundant backup systems.

The MWP website, which gets thousands of hits monthly, serves hundreds of users around the world, supports multiple musicians health and research initiatives, and is proving to be a valuable resource for many internet users seeking music wellness related information and resources. There are a number of feature-rich modules to the system that are grouped into major categories, several of which are summarized here.

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A 'screen' is the collection of data about a particular musician including information such as a musician's strength, flexibility, and technique. These data are often used as teaching tools for the musician, may be used for research projects, or part of a medical inventory used by medical professionals working with musicians. To support the multiple screening initiatives, customized screening forms can be created using the nearly 200 data collection modules, many of which have online error checking to help minimize data entry errors and online video instructions  to demonstrate how the tests are conducted. The use of commonly available internet enabled devices such as notebook computers, computer tablets, and mobile devices during the screening process eliminates the need for paper forms and allows musicians and affiliates to gain access to data and profiles almost immediately after a screen.

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Exposure Tracking

Whereas screening data provides information about the intrinsic characteristics of a particular musician, exposure data provides information about how often the musician is actively involved in dance related activities and what risk factors are involved with that activity. The exposure tracking module allows users to not only collect information on how long and how many times a musician is involved with music related activities, but also data related to other factors such as equipment and environment. This system supports both time-based and event-based exposure reporting methodologies and provides extensive detail about other exposure variables. To aid in streamlining regular (daily) data entry of this large data set, these variables are grouped into various customizable definitions which are then used in establishing the online class and rehearsal schedule of events. At the start of each event, the designated teacher or director receives email notification about the music event including a list of musicians. The individual simply replies to the email (without having to type anything), and the MWP will do all the necessary data entry automatically.

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Injury Surveillance

Unlike screenings and exposure tracking, which are typically a single event, injuries have a 'life span' (onset through resolution). The MWP allows for the monitoring of injuries through the duration of the injury cycle and supports multiple definitions of injury, e.g. time loss (how much time a musician is unable to participate in music activities), function loss (how much impairment to motion they experience), financial loss (how much financial impact is involved). The automated email system allows designated users, such as teachers, directors, or health professionals, to be kept abreast of various open injury cases and provides reminders to follow up with additional data entry. Various graphs available in the summary profiles (see below) display new and open injury cases, and the use of customized survey modules can be used to prompt musicians for additional self-reported information regarding their injury including activity levels.

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Self-Reported Data

Some information used by the MWP can only be provided by the musician and affiliates can custom design various questionnaires to collect this information. The MWP can also automatically email reminders to the musicians to notify them that there is a request for this additional information. Examples of these self-reported data modules include perceived exertion during a class/rehearsal, intake surveys, mental health surveys, and even activity levels in class/rehearsal.

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The MWP develops a unique profile for each musician drawing upon all of the data input systems: screening, exposure, injury, and self-reported. (See sample) For the musician, these profiles also aid in the creation of a cross-training profile with recommended exercise programs to address cited areas. Video demonstrations of many of the exercises are available along with anatomical imagery and descriptive text of all musculature involved/affected. The comprehensive cross-linked system provides connections to the various resources available.

Additionally, multiple musician profiles can be grouped to help summarize trends or averages across different musician groups. These summary profiles are also useful in creating a general profile for an entire group.

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The concerns that professional musicians have about disclosure of health related information are well known therefore, security and confidentiality of all data is critically factored into the development and operation of the website. Extensive security protocols have been implemented to protect the confidentiality of all data and are compliant with US Federal Laws governing the use of data used with human subjects research.

The website utilizes SSL, an industry-standard data encryption transport mechanism, with all transmissions of sensitive data. Musicians have access to the website via secured, password protected accounts. Administrators are able to access data for all the musicians in their respective institution however, cross-institutional access is not available – users at one institution cannot gain access to data from another institution.

There are multiple levels of security roles and administrators at each affiliate can use these roles to define who within their organization has access to what kind of data.

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With all relevant display of data and data entry, appropriate units of measures are used. Those music institutions in countries where the metric system is used will have data fields in centimeters and kilograms as opposed to inches and pounds.

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