A recent study reports equivalent performance for detection of wrist fractures between a 17" PC monitor with a web browser, and a 2 MP diagnostic quality Barco monitor with a PACS workstation.
The authors concluded that:
there is no difference in the accuracy of observer performance in the detection of wrist fractures on digital radiographs with a standard PC compared with that with a high-quality workstation. In our opinion, important factors in achievement of this result are the use of image magnification to employ the maximum spatial resolution of the original digital image and the use of an environment with low ambient light.
In the UK a 17" PC monitor of the type they describe costs about 300 GBP, compared to about 2000 GBP for the 2MP Barco. The PACS workstation probably costs another 10 000 GBP at least, whereas web browser displays run off standard PCs.
Of course for large volume reporting, high resolution monitors make sense, otherwise you'd have to zoom everything right up and pan around a lot, but in other situations, e.g. casualty departments, PC monitors are probably fine (provided the viewing area is dark, which is another story)
Personal Computer versus Workstation Display: Observer Performance in Detection of Wrist Fractures on Digital Radiographs
Anthony J. Doyle,, James Le Fevre, and Graeme D. Anderson
Radiology Dec 2005;237:872-877
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