Unlike viewing most images online, medical images require exceptionally high-resolution monitors. As the health care imaging industry becomes increasingly digitized, images can be displayed almost anywhere in a facility or even over the World Wide Web.
One of the primary challenges is consistency, particularly when it comes to grayscale images such as x-rays. Typical computer monitors, even high-end ones, lack complete consistency when it comes to their grayscale characteristics. This variation may even occur between monitors of the same model.
The DICOM Part 14 imaging protocol is rapidly becoming the standard of grayscale adjustment among the different monitors that are being used throughout the industry; any monitor that is chosen should be compliant with this standard.
Area and Aspect Ratio
It goes without saying that when it comes to monitors, bigger is in fact better – and this is particularly true when it comes to medical images. It’s about pixels; different modalities produce images of different sizes in terms of area. The greater the area, the more detail that can be seen. In addition, images such as x-rays become “stretched” on smaller monitors, causing some distortion of the information and loss of image quality – not a good thing when it comes to accurate diagnoses.
A monitor of at least 3 megapixels (MP) with a screen size of 1536 by 2048 pixels will serve quite well for most image viewing needs.
The LCD Advantage
Aside from the fact that CRT monitors are largely obsolete, the liquid crystal display (LCD) monitor provides much better picture quality, a larger viewing area and a smaller footprint. In addition, they provide a brighter picture.
Unlike most commercial monitors, medical monitors have specific requirements; therefore, most companies bundle these monitors with graphics cards that are specifically designed to work with them. If you must purchase a graphics card separately, keep in mind that such a card should support portrait orientation as well as monitor calibration (most commercial models do not).