Philips opens centre for study of healing environments
1 November 2011
Philips has opened a dedicated research facility for studying
healing environments at its Eindhoven-based Research Laboratories.
The aim of a healing environment is to accelerate and improve
treatment outcomes, while simultaneously reducing the stress and
anxiety associated with hospitalisation and hospital-based
The company has long studied the patient's hospital experience
and has conducted extensive studies of patient experience flows in
real hospital environments to feed back to the design of healing
Philips is in an almost unique position of having both a consumer
products arm and a healthcare arm that can cross fertilise ideas.
This enables it to combine expertise in areas such as lighting and
sound with healthcare.
“There is an increasing body of evidence to suggest that
patient-friendly comforting environments not only reduce anxiety
levels but also promote the healing process itself,” said Henk van
Houten, general manager Philips Research.
“The opening of the Hospital Area is a clear expression of our
commitment to this important new area of healthcare research, which
leverages Philips' unique expertise in healthcare, lighting and
consumer lifestyle. It is further evidence of Philips’ aim to
deliver meaningful innovations that improve people’s lives.”
One of the concepts that is being studied uses soothing lighting
and calming video images and sounds, and is aimed at reducing the
stress levels of patients in various medical situations.
One treatment scenario is for patients who are in the preparation
room awaiting a PET-CT scan for cancer diagnosis. The preparation
room has been identified as one of the most stressful environments
for cancer patients. The use of a specially designed room to control
light, images and sound is being studied as a means of improving the
experience for the patient while preparing for the scan.
The patient can choose the ambient experience
in the preparation room,
including sounds and images
displayed on the ceiling
Patients who have suffered from stroke are very sensitive to
sound and light in the early recovery phase then later need more
stimuli. So Philips has designed a patient room that adapts to the
clinical and psychological state of the stroke patient to provide
the optimum sensory experience to aid recovery. Another project that
is well advanced is the the prevention of delirium in intensive care
units. A hospital environment cockpit allows hospital staff to
monitor patients for signs of delirium and monitor the level of
noise that the patient experiences.
As people’s access to information increases and they become more
knowledgeable about their medical conditions and therapy options,
they demand greater choice in where and how they are treated. As a
result, hospitals have to become increasingly people-focused to
satisfy those demands. Offering an environment and an experience
that helps patients cope with a difficult period in their lives is
one way in which hospitals can achieve that objective.
Philips' pioneering Ambient Experience, incorporates ambient
healing in medical imaging rooms and emergency departments.
Architecture, design and technology (eg lighting, sound and
projection) have been integrated to create a healthcare space that
is designed to reduce the anxiety and increase the comfort of
children that are being scanned, while improving the hospital
Moving further in this new field, Philips says it will research
new healing environment solutions in the Hospital Area, in scenarios
as close as possible to those that are encountered in real