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Transforming Patient Healthcare, Well-Being Through Lighting

The world of healthcare is changing rapidly and there is increased interest in the role that light and lighting can play in improving health outcomes for patients and providing healthy work environments for staff, according to many researchers. Recently, the Center for Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, together with the Illuminating Engineering Society, sponsored a workshop to explore pathways to define and promote the adoption of lighting systems specifically for healthcare environments.

The workshop brought together lighting and human health researchers, healthy-lighting design experts, senior representatives from healthcare standards organizations and healthcare providers. The aim of the workshop was to initiate an important discussion among diverse stakeholders on the changes in modern healthcare interior lighting applications. The result is the release of a white paper detailing the outcomes and contributions of the participants.

“Today, the field of lighting and healthcare is undergoing rapid development,” said Robert F. Karlicek Jr., LESA director, who also serves as a professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer. “As research continues to build the link between lighting spectral power distributions and wellness, LED lighting technology strives to bring new healthy lighting to market. Often commercialization in this capacity happens without establishing the clinical data to demonstrate a value-added benefit for patients or the providers, or a defined return on investment for the healthcare industry.”

“It has long been known that lighting can impact human health and wellness,” said Brian Liebel, director of technical standards at IES. “Research continues to refine the precise role of light spectrum, intensity and timing on the scope of patient outcomes, and on healthcare worker productivity. But more research is required to provide the evidence necessary for new, modern standards for lighting systems in healthcare and eldercare markets.”

According to Karlicek and Liebel, the workshop white paper is intended to be an evidence-based resource for lighting designers and healthcare providers to better understand market drivers. Both noted that the white paper is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of the field of lighting for human health and well-being—rather, a comprehensive introduction of insights shaping the field for participants attending the upcoming IES Light + Human Health Symposium that will be held April 8-10 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Photo courtesy of LESA.

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Posted March 9, 2018

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