If you’re an extrovert like me, you may think that being sent home to work is a punishment. But all the introverts I talk to love it. (And they’re not just saying this to shut me up!) Avoiding the forced social interaction and commute enhances productivity and increases work-life balance while providing the social distancing we need right now.
Many expect (or hope) that the pandemic-fueled push to have radiologists work from home will become the new normal. But radiology is not a profession that lends itself to a laptop balanced on your knees while siphoning WiFi off your neighbor who doesn’t know how to set a password. That is why you need to invest in your patients—and yourself—with a home imaging desk that provides the functionality and comfort you need.
First, we’ll take a look at the essentials that simply allow you to do your job. Then, we’ll get into how you can make your job easier, safer and more enjoyable.
Your entire PACS workstation is probably not migrating home with you. Ideally, your employer is providing the hardware you need and specifications on connectivity. They’re probably not going to put an addition on your home, though, so the room is up to you. Essentials include:
- CPU, monitors, keyboard, mouse, recording device
- Secure high-speed Internet connection
- Power outlets and surge protectors
- Private, quiet room for voice recording
- Lighting for appropriate viewing conditions
Watch a few great tips on home radiology setups from a pro across the pond here:
The Real Needs
Eyestrain, carpal tunnel, the stress from chasing your cat who gets tangled in cables and pulls your $40K monitor to the ground...these are not happy outcomes of working from home. I said the list above is what’s essential. What is really essential, however, is taking care of you. To give your patients the best read, you need to feel your best. This means you need an imaging desk that accommodates all your equipment and allows you to work in a comfortable, ergonomic manner.
Let’s take a deeper look at your workstation needs:
Footprint: First and foremost, it’s gotta fit in your house. The WFH radiology workstation may be smaller than what you’re used to, so its use of space is key. The ability to hang the CPU, use monitor arms and manage your cords so they reach outlets is key.
Dimensions: The desktop needs to be big enough for you to comfortably place everything you need—keyboard, mouse, phone, recording device, reference books, paper files, etc. Ideally, it has a separate cup holder to keep coffee from spilling on said paper.
Weight: Radiology monitors, such as the Barco Coronis Uniti 12MP or the Eizo RX 1270 MP, can weigh 55 lbs. and as you know they can cost $40K, so no IKEA desk will do. Make sure your workstation can handle the weight.
Monitor Placement: The monitors need to be in the best place for you to get a good read in order to provide the best care for your patient. They need to be placed to protect your eyes from strain so you can care for the next patient. Placing screens roughly 20” to 40” from your eyes is the proper focal distance, whether they’re on the desktop or raised with monitor arms.
Shape: We’re not Flat Stanley and we don’t move that way either. For ergonomic and comfort reasons, the front of your desk should be curved, not rectangular, and it should feature a beveled edge. Unlike a 90° seamed or banded edge, the beveled edge encourages neutral wrist alignment and remains crumb free. Learn more about ergonomics here.
Surface: A sturdy surface not only supports all your hardware but it provides the best ergonomic support. With sit-stand desks, the desk needs to remain stable when raised—you don’t want to read scans at a wobbly desk. For the desktop itself, a slightly textured 3D laminate is durable, attractive and is easy to clean.
Sit-stand flexibility: The ability to simply get off your butt will do you good. Whether you start out standing to get through email or stand for a few hours in the afternoon to give yourself a break, the ability to push one button and raise your workstation is invaluable. This also means the imaging desk is height-adjustable so you can make sure it’s at just the right position for you, sitting or standing.
Cable management: To do your job, every USB device, every power cord, every cable, and more must be reliably connected. Managing cables is not just about making it pretty; you need the cables firmly in place so they’ll stay that way. Your imaging desk needs built-in or add-on cable management tools.
This may sound overwhelming, but the answer is simple: You need a workstation built by people who understand your work and your needs. At Xybix, we’ve done our homework on radiology needs and we’re here to help. Call us today.