Consumer displays function as well as medical-grade flat-panel monitors

April 28, 2006

Off-the-shelf LCDs do just as well at presenting medical images and cost a fraction of the price monitors marketed specifically for medical display command, according to preliminary results presented April 27 at the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine annual meeting in Austin.

Off-the-shelf LCDs do just as well at presenting medical images and cost a fraction of the price monitors marketed specifically for medical display command, according to preliminary results presented April 27 at the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine annual meeting in Austin.

Radiologists found no differences in 117 out of 121 radiographs read during the comparison of a Dell dual-display 2.3-megapixel 24-inch color monitor with a Planar dual-display 3-MP gray-scale 21-inch model, said Dr. David Hirschorn, a practicing radiologist serving both Staten Island University Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. The Planar monitor boasted 500 cd/m² versus the consumer LCD's 400 cd/m².

Hirschorn said 91of the images were selected because they expressed subtle findings. The remaining 30 were controls. Images were read using Agfa Impax software running on Windows 2000 calibrated to DICOM part 14 GSDF.

Two rib fractures were found on the medical-grade display but not on the consumer monitor. Hirschorn pointed out that one was accompanied by a second fracture seen using the consumer display. Also missed using the off-the-shelf display but found on the medical-grade unit was a distal phalangeal erosion. The missed erosion was also accompanied by a second that was found on the consumer monitor.

Seen on the consumer display but missed on the medical monitor were a medial malleolar fracture and a 1.1-cm pulmonary nodule.

"Looking at this clinically, we do not believe there is any significant difference between the two monitors," Hirschorn said.

The results, while preliminary, amplify a study reported last year by Hirschorn at the SIIM (then SCAR) conference that found no difference between medical-grade and consumer displays in reading CT images.

Both MGH and Staten Island Hospital have begun using consumer LCDs for viewing clinical images, he said.