Medical Grade Displays

Last weekend my daughter Kassandra heard me say, “Medical Grade Display” in a discussion with a friend. Later that day she asked me, “Exactly what is a Medical Grade Display?” She didn’t know it but she just set herself up for 30 minutes of what I call PACS Raving. In summary, my Medical Grade Display sermon went something like this…

Digital Display or Video Monitor technology has grown to include hundreds of different models, types and purposes. Gone are the days of the CRT…now we have Plasma, LCD, TFTLCD, SLCD, OLED, DLP and I’m sure the new Digital Linear Liquid Crystal-Plasmatron technology will be available soon. I’m joking about the DLLCP technology but you never know? I should probably patent the name and acronym before the wiz kids at MIT invent the technology. Brand patents are big money!!!

Oh well… before I get too carried away, I should get back to my sermon…Medical Grade Displays, specifically PACS displays. Operation of a PACS requires digital displays to view images. Digital displays have replaced the conventional radiograph view box in the patient care areas in hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices. Most places still have that single portable view box JIC but the majority of conventional view boxes have seen their last fluorescent bulb replacement.

PACS displays must be able to handle multiple high resolution images. Most of the newer medical imaging modalities have the ability to create large volumes of high resolution images; this has increased the demand for high resolution medical grade displays. Regulatory agencies like the AMA, MSQA, ACR and others define standards for the diagnostic review and interpretation of medical images. Image quality assurance and even everyday clinical viewing of medical images must be done using a display capable of a specific resolution range, hence Medical Grade Display.

Currently the standard for viewing/interpreting diagnostic radiography images is 1.2 to 2 Mega-Pixels (MP). The standard for CT, MRI and other multi-image exams is also 2 MP. Digital Mammography and in some cases Orthopedic applications require a 5 MP display minimum due to the very fine detail of the images. In the past, PACS vendors recommended a specific display vendor for use with their PACS. Today there are literally dozens of display vendors to choose from so the PACS environment might include many different sizes and types of displays. Clinicians on the go might have a 6 inch handheld display from Apple while surgeons in the OR flex their muscle with a HD 60 inch multi-panel wall mounted display from Zenith.

Large or small, standard or ultra-high resolution, medical grade displays are a key ingredient when implementing a successful PACS.

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