“First, do no harm” – this sentence is traditionally attributed to Hippocrates. It is also one of the main guiding ethical principles in healthcare. While mainly associated with antiquity and ultimately not even part of the physicians’ oath at the time, it can also be applied to the idea of using display technology in the medical industry. The durability and damage resistance of LCDs used in such applications is undoubtedly essential. However, the most vital features of medical and healthcare solutions should be the guarantee of safety during use, high functionality, and apparent access to the displayed information.
The support of an experienced team of industry specialists is crucial while choosing the display for the given medical application. Their knowledge, understanding of the project, and the feedback they can provide will help select the best solution for clients’ needs. The key factor influencing this process is whether the specific LCD will meet the requirements of the medical standards – certain parameters must distinguish such displays.
Resolution – not the only thing that matters
Each diagnostic device that uses a screen should also comply with certain standards regarding the legibility of the displayed information. High resolution and contrast, full viewing angles, and increased brightness (in certain cases) – LCDs intended for medical applications should feature such parameters, especially the ones installed in endoscopes, tomographs, and devices supporting surgical procedures. The extended operating temperature range and the high value of the mean time between failures (MTBF) are also additional advantages of such solutions. All of the above-mentioned properties are characteristic for the the G133HAN01.0 model from AUO (1980x1080p, 800:1, 400 cd/m2, MTBF: 50 000 hours, operating temperature (°C): -20 ~ 60). Another interesting product for the medical industry is the G101EVN03.1 module from the same supplier, distinguished by even higher brightness (1000 cd/m2) and high contrast (1300:1), making it suitable for implementation in ultrasound machines.
The safety of both the service of medical facilities and the patients themselves is of key importance. Therefore, the use of additional screen protection in the form of various coatings (e.g., antibacterial and anti-shatter) in LCDs intended for this market is worth considering. The anti-shatter film limits the spread of glass fragments in the event of mechanical damage to the display. This solution is available in different hardness levels – their light transmittance is about 90%, which does not adversely affect the operation of the device.
The antibacterial coating reduces the number of microorganisms left on the screen surface by each user. The medical sector’s demand for such applications was high even before the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic outbreak. Their use has become crucial for the functioning of devices used by hundreds or even thousands of users every day – not only in health care facilities.
The most popular antibacterial coatings use silver nanoparticles. Kastus Technologies proposed an alternative, using other materials, that were successfully patented after several years of research. The undeniable advantage of their coating is its exceptional durability – only one application to the screen is enough to protect it completely. This process does not have to be repeated. The Kastus solution is completely transparent and does not affect the display’s operational functions in any way. Any antibacterial coatings effectively reduce the number of microorganisms at the level of at least 99.9%.
Smaller, but very functional screens are used in more compact and mobile medical devices, e.g., ECG or KTG (cardiotocographs) machines, dialysis machines, or respirators. An example of a solution suitable for this type of application is the WF50DTYA3MNG10# model with Winstar’s MIPI interface (720x1280p, 800:1, 250 cd/m2, operating temperature (°C): -20 ~ 70), designed for more demanding work environments. It offers high performance with low power consumption. Full viewing angles ensure that the displayed images are legible from any point of view and without distortions. The module is also equipped with a capacitive touch panel with multitouch. The glass surface not only facilitates cleaning but also increases its resistance to mechanical damage.
E-paper for healthcare
Interesting applications in medicine and healthcare are those using e-paper technology. It can be used in small displays in drug dispensers (e.g., ET011TT2 model produced by E Ink) or improve the work of medical personnel by being an electronic equivalent of information cards. It is worth noting that e-paper does not emit blue light – this may be one of the most significant advantages of this technology in medical applications. In such solutions, it is enough to use a subtle light source like i.e., LEDs instead of a backlight. E-paper used in that way is much more accessible to the human eye than an LCD. It has a positive effect on the well-being of people staying longer in rooms with constantly operating medical equipment. In addition, this technology consumes only a small amount of electricity and provides full viewing angles – therefore, it does not limit the availability of the presented information in any way.
A future without mistakes
The progressive development of medicine causes a continuous increase in the amount and variety of information necessary for medical personnel and patients. It forces the necessity for constant research, development, and the selection of the appropriate technology at the very beginning of the project. The better the LCD modules are tailored to the specific needs of healthcare workers, the greater the functionality of the equipment itself. The high quality of the given solution will, in turn, guarantee its long life. It is worth trusting specialists in their fields, both in the selection of displays and concern for human life and health. Contact us if you need any support in implementing your project.
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