As PACS hoists its sail - now reaching a wider variety of healthcare facilities including smaller sites and imaging centers and expanding the girth of radiology in healthcare enterprises - display manufacturers are helping to accelerate and make easier soft-copy reading with monitors that meet the needs of a plethora of hospital departments and imaging facilities. The range of resolution and price points to match didn't take all the buzz at RSNA this year, display manufacturers also showed improvements to QA software that helps ease the burden of essential display calibration, and let QA administrators rest a little sounder at night.
Radiology, as well as other clinical specialties, is moving toward liquid crystal display (LCD) technology over cathode ray tube (CRT) technology, and every display vendor featured these aesthetic counterparts. Vendors touted lower resolution displays and self-calibrating color monitors with the same look and feel as their grayscale, mega-pixel brothers. And with internal sensors and calibration software raising eyebrows, developers of medical grade monitors are introducing new consoles that permit display calibration from one centralized location, and even remotely from a PDA.
(Note: companies appear in alphabetical order.)
Ampronix Inc. highlighted its new True View Stereoscopic that combines CT images and presurgical planning for added dimension and depth.
The extra visual dimension allows users to better analyze complex structures, plan surgery, map geographical data and simulate experiences in virtual reality. Physicians can use their CAD model while working with it or can hook up a stereo camera or endoscope to the computer and see real-time 2D video.
Barco came to RSNA with enhancements to its medical imaging display line and QA software, such as a new display controller for Coronis, PDA-supported calibration software and a new distribution agreement with SourceOne.
Barco showed that its Coronis display systems equipped with new, high-speed BarcoMed Coronis, 10-bit digital display controllers that render complete data sets with 1024 simultaneous levels of gray. The dual-head display controller features 64-bit, 66 Mhz PCI performance and image download speeds of more than 400-megabyte per second, the company said.
Also new is Barco's Coronis 2-megapixel (MP) display with 1600x1200 resolution. Featuring IPS (in-plane switching) technology, several viewers can look at the display screen from different positions. The response time and high on-axis contrast ratio of Coronis 2MP make it suitable for displaying moving images.
In the QA realm, Barco featured its FDA cleared MediCal Administrator 2.05 with support for PDAs (personal digital assistants). The system lets administrators access all medical display systems throughout the healthcare enterprise via PDA, essentially controlling checkups from any remote location. Also, the new MediCal Administrator allows Pocket PC users to view information about each display system and the QA tasks performed, along with a status overview of all displays in the hospital.
Additional enhancements to the MediCal Administrator software include improved reporting capabilities and notification through industry-standard simple network management protocol (SNMP). While the reporting feature allows QA administrators to export all their QA data reports to familiar formats, such as Excel and PDF, the customized notification and reporting system permits automatic notification via SNMP whenever one of the display systems performs below standard.
Medical imaging equipment supplier SourceOne Healthcare Technologies Inc. and Barco also revealed at RSNA a national distribution agreement. Concurrent with the agreement, SourceOne will offer Barco's full line of medical display systems to customers throughout the United States.
Double Black Imaging (DBI) bulked up its M-series with the addition of a 1.3MP monochrome monitor. DBI also introduced a new line of self-calibrating color displays that include a 1.3MP, 2MP and 3MP model.
DBI added the 1.3MP self-calibrating display to its M-Series line (which includes 2MP, 3MP and 5MP models). The IF1901M 1.3MP, 9-inch high-bright monochrome LCD features a built-in DICOM curve and preset brightness settings to ensure stability. The IF1901M delivers luminance of 700 cd/m2 and a high contrast ratio of 550:1. The IF1901M replaces most existing review or modality CRT monitors