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News

Light and sound effects on patient well-being

Philips Medical Systems : 25 November, 2013  (Technical Article)
Philips uses Medica 2013 to demonstrate the results of its studies on the effects of both sound and light on the well-being of patients
Light and sound effects on patient well-being


A pleasant atmosphere in medical establishments is no longer seen as a “nice to have”. Hospital management and doctors' practices are increasingly realizing that an optimized healing environment positively affects people’s psychological and physiological condition and can improve the quality of medical care. At MEDICA, Philips is demonstrating what form this 'healing environment' could take, for example with the next stage in the development of its existing HealWell solution. This solution promotes the patient's sleep-wake rhythm by simulating the natural, dynamic rhythm of daylight. In addition, the Clear Mind research project, which adopts a holistic approach, gives a glimpse of the future of care in intensive care units (ICUs).



Background noise in ICUs



Background noise is disturbing to a patient's quality of sleep in an ICU. However, high noise levels can disrupt the healing process and contribute to delirium. Initial results from the Clear Mind project show that almost two-thirds of non-patient-related noise comes from hospital staff and just one-third comes from the life-saving machinery.



For this reason, Philips Research is exploring a promising approach that gives healthcare staff feedback on the negative effects of noise and advice on preventing unnecessarily loud noises as they go about their daily activities[3]. In this approach, the background noise is analyzed automatically to provide immediate feedback when noise levels get too high. A special feature of the approach is the ability to identify the source of the noise – for example people talking, alarms sounding, objects falling – and hence recommend what action should be taken.



"This new approach has the potential to improve the recovery process for patients," explains Thomas Falck, Principal Scientist at Philips Research in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. "As a result, it will be possible, for example, to reduce the amount of time patients have to stay in hospital, which in turn will help reduce costs."



Improving patient experience and clinical outcomes



In 2005, Philips created the Ambient Experience solution based on the idea of a 'healing environment'. Ambient Experience uses dynamic light, video and sound in imaginative ways to create a calming and relaxing environment for patients in a diagnostics room. The patients themselves can select and control theme-based images, the color and intensity of the light plus audio and video content. It is not just the patients that benefit: the doctors and healthcare staff who work in hospitals and practices every day also benefit from a more relaxed and productive environment. So far, 650 Ambient Experience solutions have been sold throughout the world, showing just how useful this calming concept is for diagnostics, treatment and therapy rooms.



At the beginning of last year, Philips introduced its HealWell patient-room lighting system. This intelligent and controllable lighting system for hospital wards automatically simulates the dynamic rhythm of daylight, supporting patients’ natural pattern of sleep and waking. Colored and accent lighting also create a pleasant environment for the patient and staff. Now, with lighting representing an enormous energy and cost factor for medical establishments, Philips is presenting the first version of HealWell that is based completely on energy-efficient LEDs.



"In developing innovations to improve the recovery process, we are constantly exploring new ground, for example by considering the effect of factors like light or noise on the treatment and recovery of patients. During this development, we draw on our experience in lighting as well as healthcare. Our goal is always to deliver a care model that focuses on the patient in every way while also being cost efficient. The rising demand for solutions of this kind shows that a patient-friendly, calming environment is beneficial not only for the patients but also in economic terms for the hospitals and doctors' practices," Falck adds.


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