Frequency and impact of high-resolution monitor failure in a filmless imaging department.

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The purpose of this study was to assess the image quality and the rate of failure of the high-resolution (2,048 x 1536 pixel) monitors used for primary diagnosis in a filmless radiology department and to analyze the type of problems encountered as well as the action taken to repair the monitors. Data were collected from Picture Archival and Communication System (PACS) service logs to determine rates of monitor adjustment and replacement, the symptoms reported, and the action taken. Additionally, random surveys of the high-resolution monitors were performed using a standard test pattern to assess spatial and contrast resolution in the center and outer corners of the monitors. Analysis of monitor service records showed a high rate of monitor replacement (41% per year) resulting in a relatively short "life expectancy" (defined as average time required before replacement) of 2.4 years. Random surveys of monitor quality using a standard test pattern showed suboptimal image quality in approximately 54% of the monitors with moderate image quality degradation present in at least one region of 27% of the high-resolution monitors, despite our vendor's quality control program. The results of this study support our subjective impression and those of other colleagues in the PACS community of an unacceptably high monitor failure rate and persistent image quality problems with 2,000 pixel monitors used for primary diagnosis. The relatively high incidence of suboptimal quality monitors suggests that more frequent quality control should be performed using a test pattern particularly given the fact that radiologists often are unable to discern degradation of monitor performance using clinical images. The high incidence of problems with image quality on high-resolution monitors indicates that vendors need to develop better quality control in monitor design and testing. Radiologists should review briefly a test pattern on each monitor at the beginning of each day. A computer program should be incorporated into the PACS, which asks radiologists to evaluate a test pattern and records the results in a central database, which is communicated to the service engineers. Further studies should be evaluated to determine the clinical impact of monitor image degradation, which is relatively easily seen using a test pattern but may be difficult to discern on clinical images. Requests for proposals (RFPs) for PACS and service contracts must specify carefully requirements for monitor image quality and conditions under which the vendor is required to replace these monitors.





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Diagnosis | Medicine and Health Sciences | Other Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Radiology




Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Medical Imaging

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