4 Critical Factors in Determining Display Lifecycle (2017 Update)


Improving quality and patient safety, reducing costs and risks, and delivering faster and more accurate diagnosis to help improve patient satisfaction are just some of the challenges facing radiology today. Balancing the economic factors with patient-focused initiatives includes determining the lifespan of radiology display systems so that they maintain best diagnostic capabilities, while meeting other requirements, too.

What are the critical factors that determine the display lifecycle? Luminance, compliance, warranty and end-of-service all need to be compared and evaluated, and in the past, have been time-consuming, inefficient and potentially more costly than necessary. Data Analytics is now available to analyze current information, identify and assess compliance based on specific criteria, and project accurate lifecycle procurement planning.

Let’s discuss each component that affects the diagnostic display lifecycle, starting with luminance:

Luminance: Why is luminance so important with radiology displays? Because the useful lifetime of a display is primarily determined by its ability to stay bright enough while remaining stable and calibrated. The challenge is to maintain calibrated luminance over time, knowing that display backlights degrade over time. Displays with 100% backlight consumed do not reach calibrated brightness, which can affect diagnostic accuracy and compliance.

Compliance: The American College of Radiology (ACR) sets compliance requirements, defining a minimum luminance ratio for diagnostic purposes over the life of the display. If the display is too dim, then the difference between one shade of gray and the next may be lost. This dynamic contrast is significant: 68% of radiologists say higher contrast enhances clinical practice and helps radiologist productivity by reducing windowing and leveling required to see the image.1

The ACR-AAPM-SIIM Practice Parameter for Determinants of Image Quality in Digital Mammography2, updated in August, 2017, offers best practice recommendations to ensure optimum brightness, contrast and color at wider viewing angles to help with diagnosis. Individual states also have increasingly set additional diagnostic display standards that must be met.

A new consideration for mammography is to incorporate technology to compensate for image blur during scrolling when reading DBT images. Noting that the brightness and contrast of grayscale medical images result from the luminance in relation to the image gray level values, ambient luminance (Lamb) and minimum luminance (Lmin) are defined for interpretation of mammograms.  Further delineation of contrast, bit depth and very importantly, that image displays must be able to display images at the same size as the imaged object.  This 1:1 image viewing is critical to avoid distorting the appearance of anatomy and negatively affecting the interpretation of mammograms.

Warranty: Most diagnostic display vendors now provide a five-year system warranty, but the devil is in the details to truly understand what’s covered for the full five years. Some vendors warrant the entire system for five years; others provide varying warranties based on individual system components. These varying warranty levels, particularly with backlight warranties, can drive up unexpected costs for maintenance, and increases compliance risk if the display luminance is too low and affects diagnostic accuracy.

End-of-Service: Status can affect the consistency of enterprise-wide display deployment and service. Cost constraints in healthcare systems have pushed the extended life of radiology displays beyond their warranty life and even past End-Of-Service (EOS). The cost of repairing EOS displays can be exponentially higher. These are typically unplanned costs, presenting even greater challenges to pre-set budgets, and can negatively affect radiologist productivity with non-functioning displays.

With all these multiple decision points, how do you efficiently track and cost-effectively manage the lifetime cycles of diagnostic displays? Being able to evaluate these key metrics proactively with data analytics helps medical centers minimize and prioritize capital expenses by planning for replacements based on major clinical performance requirements and standards.

Data Analytics: Evaluate and compare multiple decision points such as ACR-defined minimum luminance status, warranty status, End of Service and medical center-specific criteria to provide enterprise-wide, detailed reports on compliance, age, actual usage and recommended replacement schedule.

Gwinnett Medical Center leverages the power of Barco’s Data Analytics to assist in budget planning and procurement, generating a number of reports on key decision criteria to aid in forecasting display end-of-life:

“I can generate a number of reports. This enables me to budget for replacement on a case-by-case basis instead of having to place a large order all at once. This feature really saves money, and helps to justify costs,” said Cathy Taylor, Manager of the Clinical Applications Team at Gwinnett. “It’s also a huge timesaver, since I don’t have to physically evaluate each monitor to determine its age, condition, and other factors. Awhile back, when I needed to create a five-year projection for display procurement planning, Barco’s Data Analytics capabilities made it fast and easy.”

If you are going to RSNA in November, you can view radiology solutions on Barco monitors at Change Booth 7313 (North Hall) or Barco Booth 1311 (South Hall). Book a meeting or demo with Change Healthcare or with Barco in advance.


  1. http://www.medicalimagingtalk.com/radiology-imaging/4-critical-factors-in-determining-display-lifecycle/
  2. https://www.acr.org/~/media/5D883E5F6A694C8B8186378B76398837.pdf

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