Bright idea: LED lighting may improve healthcare settings

Researchers from the Center for Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications (LESA) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with the Illumination Engineering Society (IES) have released a white paper on their workshop that explored pathways to promote the adoption of lighting systems in healthcare environments.

"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."

As healthcare embraces the role that light and lighting could play in improving healthcare outcomes and providing a healthy work environment, researchers participated in a workshop to explore and define how adopting lighting system could benefit. The workshop, sponsored by LESA and IES, included lighting and human health researchers, healthy-lighting design experts, senior representatives from healthcare standards organizations and healthcare providers. They began discussions with stakeholders on the changes to current healthcare lighting.

"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."