Clinical display systems have come a long way from their clunky and high-priced beginnings. Vendors have rolled out an array of new solutions from color monitors to 40-inch Goliaths ideal for radiology, the OR and other sub-specialty areas. More facilities are tapping into automated QA for improved workflow and simplified calibration.
What’s more, prices are falling, making it affordable and essential to deploy fairly high-quality systems across the enterprise. Take for example Denver Health Medical Center in Colorado. The hospital recently went live with 57 new workstations equipped with Siemens Display Technologies SMD 21300 3 megapixel (MP) grayscale flat panel displays as part of an enterprise PACS deployment. Albert Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia is evaluating Planar’s E4c 4MP color monitors in its radiology department. Both sites report improvements in quality, workflow and physician satisfaction. The systems are just two examples of the display world’s latest and greatest. For a wider view of new options, check out the chart on page 31.
Color, glorious color
Neuroradiologists at Albert Einstein Health–care Network are among the first to deploy the hospital’s new Planar E4c 30-inch display solutions. “They use the monitors for reading cross-sectional images of the head and for MR studies. They have been very happy with the luminance. The increased luminance means the grayscale really pops,” reports David Wild, director of systems integration. Another advantage of the new system is its size. “The increased reading area is helpful. Neuroradiologists are able to hang images in a 12 up format [which can be tricky with a traditional system],” adds Wild.
Fine-tuning the display to meet individual radiologist’s hanging preferences is a fairly straightforward process. A prerequisite to the process is having PACS protocols to optimize the display, says Wild. Next he meets with radiologists for 20 to 30 minutes to find and build the appropriate protocols. After that, the system is up and running.
Given the positive feedback, the hospital expects to roll out the new displays for use in 3D, ultrasound and cross-sectional imaging. Deploying color monitors with the necessary luminance provides facilities with a lot of flexibility in building workstations, says Wild. “There are fewer restrictions about who [or where] has grayscale and who doesn’t. It’s definitely moving in the right direction,” concludes Wild.
The cost-effective enterprise rollout
Denver Health Medical Center recently jumped into the 3MP flat panel world with an enterprise deployment of Siemens’ SMD 21300 displays. Several factors drove the decision-making process, says CIO Gregg Veltri. “Monitors are getting cheaper; prices are about half of what they were three years ago. Consequently, the price delta between 2 and 3 megapixel displays is not that large. Our need to stay standard across the center also played into the decision.” Finally, Veltri believes high-quality displays will facilitate PACS adoption. “There’s a direct tie between adoption and the monitor. A better physician experience will translate into greater acceptance and adoption,” predicts Veltri.
The new displays are dispersed throughout the institution. Radiology is the cornerstone of the operation and houses 12 systems; the remainder can be found in the NICU, emergency department, women’s care area and in OR suites. Orthopedic surgeons, however, have special needs. The department is equipped with two five-monitor units and a pair of 40-inch displays. “Tracking the mouse can be an issue with the additional real estate, but hanging protocols can minimize problems,” notes Veltri.
Radiologists and clinicians aren’t the only customers that Veltri aims to satisfy with the hospital’s PACS deployment. “This project is being driven by IT and radiology as a partnership. IT manages the implementation with our vendor, and radiology handles physician adoption, training and the drive to filmless,” he says. Siemens SMfit ACT Remote and SMfit ACT Calibration remote monitoring and calibration software simplify those processes for the busy IT staff.
Veltri’s advice for his colleagues is simple. “The purchase strategy should be focused on value. You can not have a diminished monitor in the PACS environment. Buyers should determine how long it will be before the display will need repair or replacement, and consider investing in remote QA.” At the same time, the value-oriented CIO plans to evaluate