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Can you handle the truth about dedicated medical display systems?

by Luke Molnar

Medical display are just good quality consumer displays right? Wrong. Read on to discover 10 good reasons to use a dedicated medical display system over a simple consumer display.

Information in this article is taken from Barco’s White Paper 10 Reasons to Use a Medical Display System (2006). For more information on Barco medical displays please visit www.imagingsol.com.au/partners/barco.html.


Comparison: Up to 2048 x 2560 or 5 megapixel in portrait or landscape compared to form-fit factor (landscape) in standard consumer displays.

Benefits: Better correspondence to the format of medical images; higher resolution allows the radiologist to see more detail without panning or zooming; higher image quality and increased productivity.


Comparison: Luminance levels above 1000 cd/m2 (closer to film) as compared to a maximum luminance of 250 – 300 cd/m2 for consumer displays.

Benefits: Broader spectrum of greyscales discerned (Just Noticeable Differences of JNDs); easier and fast diagnosis.


Comparison: Contrast (up to 1000:1) is substantially better than most consumer displays (average only 300:1 contrast ratio).

Benefits: Better contrast ratios are capable of rendering more DICOM JNDs; better contrasts often seen as more important than luminance.


Comparison: Technology with state-of-the-art viewing angle characteristics compared to flat panel displays which use different LCD technologies have therefore have widely varying viewing angle characteristics.

Benefits: Consistent viewing in environments where viewing happens from different angles.


Comparison: Wider greyscale range enabling medical grade displays to render every greyscale (as defined by DICOM) compared to 256 (8 bit) on most consumer displays.

Benefits: Higher greyscale range e.g. Coronis greyscale displays offer 4096 shades of grey (12 bit); complies with guidelines by the AAPM and EUREF (displays with 8 bit greyscale resolution will fail this requirement).


Comparison: Sophisticated front- (I-Guard) and backlight sensor (BLOS) technology compared to varied brightness over time and at different temperatures.

Benefits: Consistent image display over time and across displays; ensures compliance to DICOM 3.14; continuous brightness measurement and correction; compensation for long-term drift; greater reliability.


Comparison: Medical displays equipped with Barco’s Uniform Luminance Technology (ULT) achieve no more than 10% non-uniformity. In other displays, non-uniformity can be as much as 25-30 %.

Benefits: Images appear differently in the corner of the display than in the centre; achievement of AAPM and EUREF proposed limit nonuniformity of 10%; no matter where you display the image on the screen, the perception is equal.


Comparison: Medical displays have a luminance response function calibrated on the display by means of an optical measuring device, compared to one that is not suitable for viewing medical images on standard displays.

Benefits: Response function suitable for medical images in line with DICOM 3.14 proposal; calibration by means of an optical measuring device; display has means to keep the image consistent over time.


Comparison: Unlike medical displays, standard consumer displays do not take into account new and existing medical standards and regulations.

Benefits: Guaranteed compliance with all new and existing medical and safety regulations, and in all marketplaces.


Comparison: Medical display systems are supported by the proper configuration and optimum quality control tools.

Benefits: Automatic control and tracking of the display configuration and image quality of over time with results kept in a central database; reports generated automatically which is a valuable asset during hospital audits.