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Lighting has been recognized in the fields of human factors, ergonomics, and systems engineering, as an environmental factor that can affect wellness and performance, and the occurrence of medical error. Short wavelength (‘blue’) light is known to influence ‘non-visual’ effects of light in humans. These effects, that go beyond the pure ‘visual’ function, can affect human wellness and performance, as has been reported in previous scientific research. The aim and novelty of this research is to study the potentially beneficial ‘non-visual’ effects of lighting in the clinical environment to advance patient safety, and improve clinician wellness and performance.
The hypothesis of this study was that clinician wellness and performance in the execution of clinical procedures in the emergency department (ED) could be improved through controlled, indirect, ‘blue’-regulated, full visible spectrum, tunable, solid state, ‘white’ lighting.
To conduct our inquiry, we performed a crossover study with current ED clinicians that executed clinical procedures in a high-fidelity, simulated ED setting, under two different lighting conditions. We used the existing fluorescent lighting as the control condition. To provide the appropriate experimental lighting condition, we developed a novel multichannel lighting system for precise control and assessment of light delivery conditions, with specific emphasis in the short wavelength (blue light) spectral area.
The results of this study suggest that it is possible that indirect, ‘blue-enriched’, full visible spectrum, ‘white’ lighting, might reduce clinician sleepiness and workload perceptions, might reduce the execution time for clinical procedures, and the occurrence of medical error, while improving clinician wellness.
Future work would expand the scope of our study to advance patient safety in clinical scenarios where prevalence of adverse events has been observed, such as improvement in clinician cognitive recovery from medical error, hand-offs, and teamwork conditions. This study can also be translated to other fields of applications such as 24/7 control centers.
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- Effects of ‘Blue-Regulated’ Full Spectrum LED Lighting in Clinician Wellness and Performance, and Patient Safety
Octavio L. Perez
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