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You’re taking the step towards digital pathology? Or you already have, but you’re looking into a refresh of your display? Which one you choose is important, because it’s a medium you use to analyze slides before stating a diagnosis and prognosis.
Not familiar yet with what digital pathology actually entails? Learn more here!
First of all: make sure that your display is made for what you do.
There are countless types of monitors on the market: displays for gaming, for film editing or for all-round use at home. Each have their own specifications that make them fit for their users. Medical grade displays pass tests and even international clearances before they can be used in medical environments. They’re reliable, provide consistent image quality and can bear being operational for hours on end.
There are displays on the market whose design went hand in hand with a lot of research on image viewing in pathology. These contain a whole range of technologies and tools dedicated to your use of the display as a pathologist. For example, they can offer color spaces that are adapted to digital slides, or fast refresh rates for smooth and clear images during panning or zooming.
In pathology, critical decisions are made based mainly on visual information. So shouldn’t the device through which you view specimens display them in high, reliable quality, every day?
Colors form the heart of pathology work. So it’s important that your display can show you the subtlest hues that your specimen contains. A large color space with focus on the shades that are typical for H&E, IHC and other types of staining is not a redundant luxury.
Be kind for your eyes. When the pixels on your screen are very close to each other, your slide images will be sharp and detailed. You’ll have a greater visible slide area to work with, at all zoom levels. We recommend a screen size of at least 27”, with high definition, for comfortable reading
“For displays, it has been demonstrated that a modern 3–4‑megapixel (MP) display is adequate; however, for primary diagnosis, medical grade displays which provide higher resolutions (4–8 MP), contrast ratios, luminance, and color stability are preferred.”1
Okay, so you’ve narrowed down your search for a new display to the offering for digital pathology, with high image quality in mind. You don’t want to enjoy this quality only during the first year that you use your monitor, right?
A medical grade display can contain sensors that continuously monitor the stability of the screen. Factors such as age, environment and temperature can influence a monitor’s performance over time. Sensors function as ‘optical eyes’, they track instabilities and compensate for them, so that the light output of the display is always constant and doesn’t degenerate. They can even measure individual spectral characteristics of red, green and blue values, for consistent colors. This helps guaranteeing long-term diagnostic confidence.
While sensors ensure a stable light output, software exists that can operate in concert with them to keep an eye on the quality of your display’s colors. This happens through automated calibration tests and quality assurance, for instance with International Color Consortium profiles. The combination of sensors and calibration software guarantees steady luminance and steady colors.
Many fields, including healthcare, are discovering the advantages of remote collaboration and consultation. Stable luminance and color quality don’t only benefit you working on your display. It can also facilitate telepathology consultations: when the remote colleague you’re consulting with has the same image quality, you can rest assured that you’re both seeing the exact same image.
Does your smartphone fail you every two years? Our planet cannot keep sustaining technology that degrades too soon. Also, failing technology is bad for our wallets and for our time. Do your existing digital pathology infrastructure justice with a display that will stand the passing of time, without giving up on performance.
When searching for a new digital pathology display, don’t shy away from asking bold questions about display lifetime. It’s good to have an idea of how long your display will last. Long lifetimes are more sustainable, for the planet and for your organization.
We don’t think it’s worth buying a display that will last you multiple years but that will start degrading after only one. There is enough technology out there that is able to support a display’s luminance, calibration and compliance through its entire lifetime, and trigger corrective actions when that is necessary.
To conclude, a qualitative, long-lasting warranty is a sign that the manufacturer of the display feels confident about its quality and performance. If any malfunction should occur, you can rely on repair or replacement. Additional maintenance contracts can offer you priority access to support, help with quality and compliance or an extended warranty after its expiration date.
Digital pathology is a visual field of expertise. Microscope or display, those are the devices through which you analyze specimens and make decisions. So don’t shy away from spending some time on researching which one would work best for your needs!
1Lujan G, Quigley JC, Hartman D, Parwani A, Roehmholdt B, Van Meter B, et al. Dissecting the business case for adoption and implementation of digital pathology: A white paper from the digital pathology association. J Pathol Inform 2021;12:17.