X-Ray viewing conditions

The title may surprise you.  Indeed, the medical world is not our area of expertise. Digital imaging is. And there are parallels.

I worked for Kodak in the period ’94-’99. Digital imaging was still in its infancy. Our revenue still came from film. It wasn’t my business-unit but Kodak also sold X-Ray film. In those early days of digital imaging, there was resistance from both photography and graphic art markets because a high level of quality was achieved with traditional methods, and the market wasn’t going to give up on that. And indeed, the quality of the first digital cameras wasn’t great…Inevitably digital imaging gained market share exponentially. Slow at first and then faster and faster…

In photography and graphic arts markets alike, investments were made to maintain quality. In these markets, everybody knows that you need to work with high quality, hardware calibratable monitors, with shading hoods, and that the light conditions in the room matter as well.  These monitors also adjust for variations in brightness over the surface of the monitor, such that for instance highlight details look the same whether you have the image up in the upper right or lower left corner of the screen. Such things matter.

In hospitals, they went from working with X-Ray film, with great dynamic range and detail, viewed on light booths, to displaying digital X-Rays on uncalibrated, sub 200-euro monitors in offices with uncontrolled light conditions. At least that is what I have witnessed several times in Dutch hospitals. That can’t be right. And it should be an opportunity for some vendors and consultants from our industry…

 

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