Prognosis: Excellent−And Still Improving
Staff and Visitor Response
McLaren’s 11 upgraded hospitals began reaping energy savings from day one, and the response from staff and visitors came quickly.
“We’ve seen a tremendous amount of compliments and assurance from staff and family members that they feel a lot safer on property at night,” Miller said. “When you tell them that energy consumption is actually reduced and you are still providing better light, they get excited.”
Staff have also commented that lights like parking structures and stairwells brighten as they approach and that hallways seem much better illuminated without the “cave effect” created by the previous parabolic lighting.
“The housekeeping staff at McLaren Port Huron even told me that it’s a lot easier now for them to see what they’re cleaning,” DiNello says.
Noise levels figure prominently in patient satisfaction ratings, and Miller says the ability to dim the Cree® fixtures was part of McLaren’s noise reduction strategy: “We can dim the lights down at 8 p.m. to let everyone know this is a time to be quiet so people can rest appropriately.”
The advanced dimming capabilities of the Cree fixtures is also pleasing staff while producing unanticipated savings. Future Energy Group strategically utilized these features to add energy savings by customizing and dialing in each area to fit the specific needs of the staff and patient care in the space.
“Nursing stations, libraries, IT departments—they really like that,” DiNello said. “When we explain that the SmartCast® lighting will dim to the comfort level they like, that’s helped us win over staff members who were initially concerned with brightness.“
Miller expects the new lighting to have a positive impact on the risk of slips and falls as well. Falls are invariably a negative experience for patients and staff alike, and McLaren works aggressively to deter them.
“You have people with various injuries or conditions who may have walkers or wheelchairs, so having proper lighting is an important preventative measure,” Miller says.
With the old lighting, burned-out lamps were a frequent occurrence. McLaren facilities staff either had to quickly react to complaints or push lighting carts through the hospitals searching for them. Now facilities staff can concentrate on more important tasks: Cree’s LED fixtures have a useful rated life of over ten years.
That saves money as well as labor, Miller points out, since replacing exterior lights in parking areas meant hiring outside contractors with lift equipment to reach them.
The long fixture life also reclaims storage space and reduces inventory headaches.
“We don’t have a lot of storage space, and the upgrade dramatically reduced the inventory we need on site and the number of different lights,” Miller says. “Some of the hospitals still used the old T12s and those are getting hard to come by.”
Sustainability and Community Benefit
McLaren Health Care’s commitment to sustainability dates back to well before the LED lighting initiative. In 2013, Becker’s Hospital Review listed McLaren Northern Michigan among “50 of the Greenest Hospitals in America.”
The LED lighting project gives a highly visible boost to that commitment across the entire McLaren system. In many locales, a McLaren Health Care hospital is both the largest consumer of power and the primary employer, and setting an example for the community pays double dividends.“
Not only does the reduction of power help the hospital but it also helps out the community as a whole,” Miller says.
While the public often thinks of branding in terms of advertising and logos, Keith Miller sees McLaren Health Care’s LED lighting initiative as a perfect example of branding in action, because brands are ultimately judged on whether they can consistently deliver on their promise to customers.
“First impressions are very important for a patient and for their families,” Miller says. “We want them to have a consistent experience from one McLaren hospital to another and lighting is an opportunity to show that.”
DiNello adds that many staff and visitors have been struck by how much newer the facilities look after the lighting upgrade: “They say, ‘Wow, it looks so modern.’”
“Cree’s technology is modernizing and future-proofing,” Abraham says. “If an architect wants to change the look in 10 years, the color tuning capabilities will help make the appearance easily adapt to that.”
At the end of the day, brand, like everything else across the hospital system, must answer to the McLaren mission.
How the Staff Sees It
Better light from Cree’s innovative solutions is helping McLaren bolster staff productivity, enhance patient experiences and brand appeal, all while helping to increase the safety and security of patients, staff and visitors alike. All are mission-critical factors to McLaren Health Care’s top priority: providing a first-rate patient experience.
“It’s important to see in my job for safety. We need good lighting for doing any types of procedures—starting IVs, assessing the skin, identifying any rashes. With the new lighting, I can see a lot better now. It’s nice and clean and feels more updated.”
—Tracy Dunsmore, RN, Nurse Manager, Cardiac Stepdown Unit, McLaren Port Huron
“Observation plays a vital role in every physician’s diagnosis and the ability to see clearly is vitally important. Because we work long hours, appropriate lighting is essential to help us stay alert and focused and helps us make the right diagnosis and intervention for the patient.”
—Dr. Ali Saad, D.O., Emergency Medicine Physician, Emergency Department, McLaren Macomb
“As part of the safety department I know how important lighting is. Good lighting gives patients a sense that they are safe. What we have now is ten times better—we are providing safe and secure environment for them.”
—Charles Peck, Supervisor, Safety and Security Department, McLaren Macomb