As medical science has advanced, doctors have become increasingly reliant on imaging technology to do their job. But any old monitor won’t do. Too much is at stake in a system where an outdated, inferior, or uncalibrated display can result in misdiagnosis or worse. Thankfully, the right medical grade monitor can not only help healthcare professionals do their jobs more effectively but can also save lives.

But what is the RIGHT medical monitor for the job? There is no one-size-fits-all solution for all medical imaging purposes, and the options available can be overwhelming. That is why decision-makers need to involve the IT Department and the care team members who will be on the ground working with medical images when selecting medical displays.

Why a Medical Grade Monitor?

We’ve discussed the differences between medical grade computers and off-the-shelf PCs at length on this blog, but why should medical professionals choose a medical display over a regular monitor? For one, medical monitors offer all the same benefits that medical grade computers offer: sealed bezels, IP65 ingress protection certification, antimicrobial housings, and 60601-1 certification. Medical grade monitors also provide a level of clarity, image depth, and a wide viewing angle that is often not possible in consumer-grade models.

Medical displays can also be customized with built-in privacy filters, unlike ordinary off-the-shelf displays that require end-users to affix any privacy filter to the outside of the screen, where it can be scratched, otherwise damaged, or even removed. Unlike ordinary displays, healthcare professionals have a choice of both battery-powered and plugin medical monitors. Additionally, unlike medical computers, customers can integrate medical monitors into existing workflows where users don’t want to switch out the computing technology they are currently using entirely.

Point of Care

Choosing the right display to use at the point of patient care is an absolute must for any healthcare facility. Medical grade monitors are VESA mountable, and some are powered by hot-swappable batteries and with an available DC out. This means they can not only power themselves but whatever thin-client or mini PC you plug into them. Together, these features make battery powered medical monitors perfect for non-powered carts, which are far more maneuverable and easy to push around than their bulky powered counterparts. Further, with their IP65 rating and antimicrobial housing, clinicians can wheel their medical monitors from room-to-room without worrying about transferring harmful germs from patient to patient, a particularly acute worry with COVID-19 still spreading around the world.

The responsive touch feature that comes with most medical-grade monitors allows doctors and other staff to easily interface with the units without dealing with keyboards and mice. When combined with antimicrobial touch glass, healthcare professionals can chart safely at the patient’s bedside. Even without the added benefit of antimicrobial technology, an IP65 ingress protection rating means that staff can thoroughly disinfect their medical monitors without fear of damaging the display panel, touch screen, or any of the underlying electronics.

Surgery/Operating Room

Patients need their surgeons to be as precise and detailed as possible in their work, so too do surgeons need a display that’s as precise and detailed as possible to do their job. Only a proper medical display can handle the unique conditions and challenges present in most operating rooms.

Surgeons need to see every little detail of any scan or image they are reading. Luckily, a 4K display gives healthcare professionals unparalleled image clarity and resolution. Combined with the wide viewing angle provided by MVA technology, each surgical team member can see precisely what they need to see without worrying about changes in brightness or clarity. The highest resolution image is useless if the glare created by the bright lights present in most operating rooms makes the image unviewable. However, by adding antiglare touchglass to a 4k medical monitor, you can practically eliminate this issue. 

Additionally, surgical grade medical monitors must support multiple video modes, such as picture-in-picture and dual-screen mode. To connect various peripherals such as cameras and other vitals tracking that the surgeon needs on one screen, surgical grade medical monitors require a selection of ports that would accommodate the necessary devices (HDMI, DP, DVI-I, SDI, Composite, RS323, USB).

Radiology/Diagnostic Imaging

Nowhere is precise imaging technology more crucial than in radiology. As such, the requirements for radiology monitors are the most stringent. Radiologists need displays of unparalleled clarity to do their jobs. A radiology monitor must have a high dynamic range (contrast) that produces true blacks and well-defined shades of gray in addition to reproducing color in its smallest variations. The difference between a clear image and a poor one can quite literally mean the difference between life and death for many patients. 4k Medical Monitors offer all the advantages of other medical grade monitors along with the incredible detail of a 4k display panel: higher resolution, wider dynamic range, greater image detail, etc. Diagnostic grade medical monitors require excellent image uniformity and high brightness to reproduce images at 800+ nits so that radiologists can examine x-rays and other scans with previously unimaginable precision.

Clinical Review

Often, medical specialists will need to have a secondary monitor for PACS quality control and modality viewing. Though the bulk of work that involves viewing images and charts is conducted on the primary monitor, these secondary monitors are great for patient edutainment purposes, office work, PACS quality assurance, and image acquisition. In many cases, clinical review monitors call for an antiglare touchglass to enhance harsh lighting conditions.

By using medical-grade monitors for both your primary and secondary display, you can ensure: consistent image acquisition quality, efficient IT solutions used for secondary display purposes (i.e., you don’t need separate tools for different types of displays), interpretation quality assurance, and reliable and accurate reproductions of a medical image at each stage (primary and secondary medical monitor).

Medical monitors with touch screen capabilities can eliminate the need for peripherals such as a keyboard and mouse, reducing the clutter and the need for wires, enhancing patient safety. 

The antimicrobial touch feature is vital for electronic patient infotainment displays. Patients can touch these screens safely without picking up germs from their nurse, doctor, or other patients. Additionally, the sealed bezels are easy to disinfect between patients.

Final Thoughts

Medical professionals should settle for working with nothing less than a high-quality medical grade monitor. When looking to purchase the right display for your needs, take into account the following criteria: 

  • Panel type: image quality, color stability at different viewing angles, response time, calibration options, quality assurance. Consider if there is a need for an antiglare touchglass.
  • Optional Touchscreen: to use with or without keyboard and mouse if there is a requirement to remove wire clutter.
  • Certifications: DICOM, CDC, IP65, 60601-1, etc.
  • Safety for near-patient use and use in sterile environments: electromagnetic and radiation emission certification, antimicrobial coating, water-resistant build.
  • Ports: ample selection of ports to connect required devices and peripherals.
  • Mounting: VESA, desktop, medical cart.

Though consumers will often initially balk at the higher ticket cost attached to medical grade monitors compared with consumer models, it is crucial to remember that medical grade monitors have a lower Total Cost of Ownership over the long term. Cybernet Medical Monitors, in particular, boast a failure rate of less than 2%, MIL-STD components, a long lifecycle, and a 3-to-5-year warranty. Our displays last significantly longer than their consumer-grade counterparts, and while they last, you can be completely assured of the reproducible quality and accuracy of your medical images. 

If you are interested in finding out your facility can benefit from Medical Monitors, contact a professional from the Cybernet team.