Osram and Partners Connected Health Innovation Investigate Light-based Disinfection

Looking to make cleaning a hospital environment more effective and efficient, the Partners Connected Health Innovation team worked with global lighting technology giant Osram to explore the use of light as a disinfectant.

"Maintaining a sterile environment in the hospital is of the utmost importance to our patients, but is a complex process for our hospital staff, said Kamal Jethwani, MD, MPH, Senior Director, Partners Connected Health Innovation. "Our goal with Osram is to make this easy and 'user-centered' so that sterility management is no longer a chore for our staff. We strongly believe that this will enhance patient safety and clinical outcomes for all our hospitals.”

(Image: Osram)

Osram designers, researchers and engineers worked with the Partners Connected Health Innovation User-Centered Design team throughout the four-month project. Seeing a new way to approach their work shed light on potential opportunities they hadn’t previously envisioned.

“Impactful innovation requires understanding end user and customer needs, not only in technology but in all industries,” said Rodrigo Pereyra, R&D Manager, Osram Innovation. “In working with the Innovation team at Partners Connected Health, we challenged our assumptions about sterilization and disinfection in healthcare by experiencing the staff’s pain points firsthand. By seeing things through their eyes, we are able to more effectively address their needs, and strive to create innovative solutions that will exceed their expectations. We are in the early stages of development right now, and are excited to work with Partners to unlock the potential of light-based disinfection.”

Field observations and interviews with physicians, nurses and cleaning staff revealed a host of challenges about cleaning in hospital settings, including intensive care units, in-patient immunocompromised units, surgical suites, outpatient clinics and community health centers. Among them were the high level of foot traffic within units, between units and throughout a hospital; the challenges of cleaning in crowded settings; and the invisible nature of disinfection and infection control.

This knowledge, paired with collaborative design-thinking workshops, produced just under 50 ideas, which were narrowed down to four prototype concepts. Clinical and non-clinical staff then provided feedback on an early-stage light-based disinfection prototype through user testing in a hospital setting. These insights will influence Osram’s future iterations of the prototype and inform future innovations in the area of light-based disinfection.

“Teaming up with researchers and staff at Partners Connected Health provided us with a great opportunity to gather important feedback in a short timeframe, and gave us insight into the daily needs inside large, complex healthcare institutions,” Pereyra said. “Partners hospitals have a tremendous reputation, and we’re proud to work alongside these leaders in medicine to develop new tools to help keep patients safe.”

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