Monitors move into OR, tackle interconnection

November 5, 2004



Monitor vendors are not about to be left out of the integration and interconnection trend hitting radiology PACS and informatics. They promise to introduce at the RSNA meeting interconnected monitors that provide consistent image presentation throughout a hospital enterprise. Vendors are also tackling everything from monitor standardization to the presentation of increasingly complex and large data sets.

Eizo will showcase RadiNET Pro software, an update to its RadiNET network quality control management software. The company will also exhibit its latest 2-megapixel LCD monitor, the RadiForce G22, which rounds out its line of 10-bit simultaneous display monitors.

The new software offers centralized management of monitors distributed throughout a medical facility, according to company representatives. Network administrators can use the software to centrally control and monitor image quality.

Kaz Kajikawa, North American product manager for Eizo, described as an unfolding industry trend the increased use of monochrome and color displays together at one workstation, highlighting the need for both monochrome and color calibration features.

"As a long-term forecast, medical LCDs may see the incorporation of a design that can handle both monochrome and color images in one display," Kajikawa said.

National Display Systems will show its 1-, 2-, 3-, and 5-megapixel AXIS monochrome displays while introducing INTegrity, a network-based display quality management system, according to product manager Ron Hansen.

NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics Display of America will showcase its NEC MD Series, which includes a 21.3-inch LCD 3-megapixel gray-scale monitor and 21.3-inch LCD 2-megapixel gray-scale monitor.

In addition to connecting separate monitors for quality assurance purposes, some monitor vendors plan to bring soft-copy images to far-flung hospital departments such as the operating room. Because of space and safety issues, the OR is one of the last areas of the hospital to take advantage of imaging's digital revolution.

Planar's customers have been looking to bring PACS into the OR for some time, according to company representatives. Despite the increasing acceptance of hospital-wide PACS, operating rooms in most partially filmless facilities typically remain holdouts against full digital image operation. Planar will introduce at the RSNA meeting the Dome Surgery Review Cart, which will be available in four monitor resolutions. It is used for referral viewing of x-ray, CT, MR, nuclear, and ultrasound images in hospital operating rooms.

3D DATA HIT MONITOR NEAR YOU

Just as radiologists have to reevaluate how they interpret 3D data, monitor companies have to reevaluate how they represent such complex data.

BarcoView will highlight new products and technology for PACS display, 3D imaging, and digital mammography, according to Julie Chadbourne, communications manager at the company. Standardization of LCDs, more color, and 3D imaging issues are some of the long-term trends customers can expect to see in the future. Barco has received FDA approval for two of its LCD products. To solidify its presence in the 3D arena, the company announced on Sept. 15 that it had signed an agreement to acquire Voxar, a 3D medical imaging software company based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

US Electronics will introduce the Totoku high-brightness and front luminance sensor, according to Madhu Reddy, vice president of sales and marketing. This includes a 3-megapixel color LCD monitor with front sensor, 3-megapixel monochrome LCD monitor with front sensor, 2-megapixel color LCD, and 2-megapixel monochrome LCD.

Reddy cited a trend toward longer life for monitor components and a need for consistent FDA approvals for monitor usage. Now, for example, approval for PACS applications also provides approval for the reading of any modality stored on a PACS, such as mammography.

"This creates confusing and ineffective standards," he said.