ITRI’s smart lighting improves quality of care at Hsinchu hospital (2020/07/08)

Smart lighting has been shown to improve patient well-being and staff efficiency at a Hsinchu hospital. Working with the Hsinchu Branch of the Taipei Veterans General Hospital, the Industrial Technology Research Institute set up a smart lighting system that has helped patients get better quality sleep. Not only that, the system tracks the location of all medical instruments in real-time, saving time that nurses previously spent searching for them. Let's see it in action.

Pushing medical instruments up and down hospital corridors is part of the everyday work of the registered nurse. At the start of their day, nurses take stock of all hospital equipment, identifying where each unit is being used. Searching for the units is a tedious process, taking up time better spent elsewhere.

Wang Ching-ju
Taipei Veterans General Hospital Hsinchu Branch
Maybe now they don’t have to come in so early to go through the equipment inventory sheet. This way they can concentrate on patient care.

Wu Chih-i
ITRI electronic and optoelectronics researcher
It’s a positioning system that uses visible light communication. It’s extremely useful for indoor position tracking.

Working with the Hsinchu branch of the Taipei Veterans General Hospital, ITRI has applied its visible light communication system to improve the quality of medical services. Sensors were attached to medical instruments. Those sensors send a signal when they are illuminated, allowing health care workers to see their location in real-time. The light system saves time during inventory checks, which now take just 10 minutes as opposed to beyond a half hour. Not only that, it’s improved the patients’ sleep.

Liu Yu-chen
Taipei Veterans General Hospital Hsinchu Branch
Patients are having longer periods of uninterrupted sleep. They wake up less during the night.

The lights have improved the slumber of hospital staff, too. Medical workers on night duty have seen their sleep quality improve. REM sleep used to make up just 8% of their sleep time, but now it’s up to 25%. The light helps because its wavelength can be adjusted. By changing the wavelength, system managers were able to affect the body’s production of sleep-inducing melatonin. Many at the hospital say they’ve enjoyed more restful sleep. Remarkably, the lights also improved patient healing.

Peng Giia-sheun
Taipei Veterans General Hospital Hsinchu Branch
Long-stay patients spend most of their time inside the hospital. There are many properties of that light that can help the body.

At the hospitals’ psychiatric ward, the wavelength and warmth of the lights were adjusted to support the patients’ daily routine. Staff reported that patients slept an average of 70 minutes longer, and that the severity of their conditions improved by 38%. The smart lighting system made the sterile space of the hospital more human-centric, improving sleep quality and the workplace efficiency of medical staff.