Medical Video: Bringing Your Equipment Needs into Focus

January 1, 2008 | Evaluations & Guidance


Medical video is seeing greater use for a wider variety of applications, but the technology and terminology continue to confuse many users. As a result, hospitals risk buying the wrong equipment or buying higher-specification equipment than they need. This article untangles the field’s terminology and provides the fundamental technological background you need to make purchasing decisions.

The world of video transmission and display has become vastly more complicated in the 21st century. The variety of equipment options has multiplied. Signal and display standards have proliferated. Even the choice of a display monitor is no longer a simple question of “How big a screen do we need?” but involves a host of considerations such as the resolution and aspect ratio of the incoming signal, and the comparative virtues of plasma and liquid crystal display (LCD) screens.

This creates a huge challenge for hospitals. Video equipment is used throughout any facility—in locations ranging from radiology to the OR and from gastroenterology to patient waiting areas. Understanding what equipment is required for every area in a hospital is no small feat. What are the governing standards for a given type of signal? What kinds of cabling do you need to carry your signal? Do you need HDTV compatibility for all areas? And what is HDTV, anyway?

As the number of available options has exploded, hospitals have struggled to keep up. Simple, straightforward information can be hard to obtain. Even manufacturers’ sales reps don’t always provide the correct facts: Some of them may not fully understand the technology themselves, and an occasional few may exploit staff members’ confusion about video technology to sell them higher-grade—and thus more expensive—equipment than they really need.

That’s why we’ve prepared this basic guide to medical video. This article will help you understand the fundamentals of video...

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