The surgical lighting industry has been overhauled by light-emitting diode (LED) options that are advertised as less expensive but easier to handle, more energy-conscious and longer-lasting light sources. With the majority of healthcare facilities in the United States gradually shifting to this alternative from halogen and xenon light sources, suppliers are working to meet industry demands.
Innovations based off of LED technology will continue to be tweaked to match what surgical teams are asking for: a purer light that provides more user control, sensors to minimize heat and video connectivity.
Overhead Lighting: Looking Long-Term
There are two big trends in operating room purchasing:
- More facilities are leaning to hybrid options.
- Systems are starting to bundle purchases for ease of maintenance and potential cost savings; this includes overhead surgical lighting.
“Projects to install only a set of lights are much less common as administrators and staff focus on room design with the right equipment to optimize the productivity and performance of the OR,” Aaron Young, marketing manager of booms and lights at Stryker, said. “In addition, as ancillary technologies change, facilities want to ensure that the lights they are buying today can be upgraded as necessary.”
Phil Kennedy, vice president of global marketing at STERIS Corporation, agreed, saying lighting is a 10 to 20-year investment, especially with the long life of LEDs. Committees that involve a variety of stakeholders should look at a few big factors when they make purchases, such as clinical performance, vender experience and modularity and the ability to upgrade.
Facilities are also starting to see the value of overhead surgical lights outside the OR. “In the past, the priority was on illuminating the surgical field and therefore the focus was the operating room,” said Young. “Now, healthcare providers should expect exceptional lighting solutions in all patient care environments, whether in the OR, emergency department, intensive care unit or an offsite surgery center.”
Headlamps: Going Mobile
When LEDs were first put in headlamps about a decade ago, surgeons gained mobility as the tethering cord was retired. “The early adopter stage is pretty much over, and it is becoming mainstream,” Jim Nelson, director of sales and marketing at Enova Illumination, said. As battery life increases, comfort improves and lights boosted, popularity increased, he said.
Just like every other area of healthcare, purchasing committees have slowed the buying process. Since a headlamp is a usually a capital equipment item, it also has to be budgeted for. “This isn’t something that has happened over night. It has just ratcheted up over time,” Nelson explained.
This article was featured in the November/ December 2015 issue of Surgical Products. To see the complete issue, click HERE.