JTI Blog

Current events in cardiopulmonary radiology, updates about the journal’s web site features, and links to other web sites of interest to cardiopulmonary radiologists.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tips for Trainees by Jonathan Chung: Extra Monitor—Best Electronic Investment

As radiologists, we are always eager to purchase and utilize the newest tech to increase our efficiency and make our busy lives less hectic.  However, those new computers can run close to over a thousand dollars and will become outdated in a few years—not a great investment.  The benefit-to-cost ratio for new smart phones and tablets is even less stellar.  This makes sense for the tech sector as it is in their best interest to sell expensive products which must inevitably be replaced in the near future.  Before you go out and buy a new PC or Mac to “increase productivity,” consider saving a good deal of money and purchasing a $200 monitor to go with your current set up. 


Data shows that adding an extra monitor can increase efficiency anywhere from 9-50%.  This is particularly true if you work on multiple documents at one time, which is probably the case for most of us.  When working on a document (such as this one), I have my word document open on one monitor and my references or sources open on the other.  When working with data, having the ability to have a free-standing excel file that can be quickly perused is invaluable.  In addition, when surfing the web, it’s nice to have 2 different browsers open, as each has their different strengths and stability issues.  An extra large monitor (larger than 20-inches wide) offers similar increases in productivity, though there does appear to be diminishing returns in regards to screen size.  A study by NEC shows that one’s productivity can in fact decrease if the monitor is too large (larger than 26-inches wide) .  For example, it may be difficult to scroll across a monitor and find the correct document on a canvas which is too large.


I encourage you to acquire an extra monitor before spending money on more expensive tech.  It’s a small monetary investment in the long-run and will clearly yield you extra time or productivity.