At the 91st annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, now underway in Chicago, GE Healthcare is featuring a room with a view. Reading radiology room for the Baltimore Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, with multiple A-P, lateral and sagital filmless views, that is:
Designed as a living, breathing showcase for filmless radiology imaging and interpretation, the new reading room is intended to streamline the procedures and processes that impact treatment flow and patient throughput.
Research at the Baltimore VA Medical Center found that environmental factors, such as lighting and monitor brightness, had the greatest impact on radiologist productivity and fatigue. As a result, ambient lighting at the Baltimore VA reading room will be optimized using blue LED (light-emitting diode) lights for increased energy efficiency and reduced eye fatigue. The cool blue lighting in these environments will sharply contrast the darkened reading rooms with glowing LCD liquid crystal display (LCD) displays which, according to studies by GE’s lighting business, increase lighting contrast that can contribute to dry eyes and ultimately eye fatigue.
Acoustics also were considered during the initial design of the reading room. Telephone conversations, dictations, and consultations all occur in normal reading rooms and contribute to overall noisy environments that interfere with radiologist interpretations. Focused sound will be introduced at Baltimore VA to minimize ambient noise by directing computer generated audio such as dictation and teleconferences to only specific areas around the radiologists in such a way that others in the reading rooms will be undisturbed. This also will aid in patient privacy since confidential patient information typically exchanged in consultations will be minimized or masked completely.
The new reading room will occupy a centralized location at the Baltimore VA Medical Center, where consolidated workstation design and improved lighting will create a comfortable environment for radiologists to work and collaborate. In addition to individualized lighting and sound controls intended to reduce eyestrain and other environmental stressors, the room will rely on the integration of information systems and improved workstation ergonomics to create a functional reading environment that serves as a research center and a clinical working environment.