Considerations for HD Monitors in the Operating Room

When it comes to HD displays that are used in the operating room, it’s important to understand that these monitors are vastly different from the HD televisions in our living rooms. Recently, I spoke with Healthcare Purchasing News to discuss considerations healthcare IT managers should make before acquiring and installing monitors  in the operating room (OR). I’ve summed up the main considerations below.

Medical-Grade Certifications: Surgical monitors should be FDA Class 1 and UL60601 certified. UL60601 certification is a safety standard for medical electrical equipment. Additionally, OR monitors should be resistant to drips and condensation.  Selecting a monitor with an antimicrobial surface will make it easy to clean and sanitize. Installing devices that do not meet these industry standards could result in performance and legal liabilities.

Compatibility: Consumer-grade displays are not equipped with enough inputs to integrate with other AV technologies in the operating room. For example, in order to see multiple images on a single monitor screen, such as vital signs, the surgical procedure itself, and radiological images, the display requires at least as many inputs as devices. Displaying these images on a single screen is useful to the surgical team from a collaboration standpoint. This feature also helps to reduce equipment clutter in the OR .

Image Quality & Color Reproduction: Healthcare IT managers will benefit from medical monitors with optimal image quality and accurate color reproduction as doctors and surgeons base their diagnosis on the color tone of tissues. Therefore it’s critical that monitor colors be true-to-life and appear consistent across multiple displays in separate ORs.

Size & Mounting: In space-constrained operating rooms, a medical grade monitor that has a small overall footprint and small depth can save precious inches in an already cramped OR. Additionally, healthcare IT managers should look for displays that are VESA compliant and can be either boom arm-mounted or wall-mounted. It’s essential that the mount hold the monitor steady, while still allowing it to be maneuvered into multiple positions for optimal viewing.

Wide Viewing Angle & Brightness: Because operating rooms are often small, it’s important that the display be visible from nearly any angle, as staff cannot always position themselves to face a medical monitor directly. Additionally, monitors need to be bright enough to ensure the image can be easily viewed in the bright light conditions of an operating room. We recommend that the monitor be evaluated in a well lit room, rather than in a dark camera lab setting.

Professional Services & Warranties: Be sure to select a display that comes with at least a 2-year warranty and an option to upgrade for an additional 3- to 5-year extended warranty. Consumer-grade displays often come with only a 1-year warranty term, which is voided if the display is used in a commercial capacity, such as healthcare setting.

Of course, no operating room is identical. IT managers should confer with surgeons, doctors and nurses to assess their OR visualization needs and challenges before making a medical monitor purchase decision.

Check out Panasonic’s full line of medical-grade HD quality monitors and displays for the OR, including the EJ-MDA32U Series, HD remote head cameras and recording devices that help create a full HD surgical AV solution.