The Best Radiology Setup/Workstation Equipment

This work-in-progress is the first entry in a series of upcoming posts about radiology tools, ergonomics, and efficiency. This includes the go-to stuff I use every day to practice diagnostic radiology, (briefly) how I use them, and a few alternatives. This series has been a long time coming and is the result of a lot of research, trial and error, and input from others in the radiology community.

Unnecessary caveat: There is no real best anything. Here’s what I have idiosyncratically landed on as a stable happy set-up that balances efficiency and comfort (and an editorial selection of those favored by others).

We’ll get into more workflow details and justifications in a follow-up post. In the meantime, we can summarize my personal approach as a hands-free microphone solution, a vertical mouse with some–but not a comical number of–programmable buttons–and a left-hand device that adds additional hotkey efficiency as well as—critically!—a way to scroll with my nondominant hand in order to spread the love across multiple joints. (Okay, fine, and a foot pedal when I’m at home too.)

Best “Vertical” Mouse (for Wrist Pain):

1. Logitech MX Vertical (when you can install software)

If you have wrist pain, I highly recommend trialing a vertical mouse, which looks like a regular mouse turned partially on its side. The angle mimics a “handshake” position and eliminates the pronation that is (reportedly) a big driver of wrist discomfort. Almost everyone I’ve met that’s switched to one hasn’t switched back. The MX has the best “feel” of any I’ve tried. It’s pricey, so I actually carry it in this case when I take it to work at imaging centers (which also helps me not lose the USB dongle).

If you’re able to install the Logitech Options software on your workstation, then you’ll be able to customize the buttons on a per-application basis with the newer Logitech mice like the MX series. Very handy, but still, the MX is a wonderful daily driver and not a productivity/gaming mouse per se; it works best for radiology when paired with an off-hand device (see below). If more buttons or plug-and-play are important, see #2.

2. The TRELC (or Zelotes C18) Vertical Gaming Mouse (for when you can’t install software)

On the vertical mouse front, the Zelotes is a cheap/great-value vertical mouse option with onboard memory. It’s got a good number of buttons and a fun 4-way thumb joystick, which is a great way to engage your window settings (I have mine set to soft tissue, bone, brain, and lung). The feel isn’t quite as good as the MX, but for manipulating PACS, it’s excellent. I use it every shift at the hospital and honestly may switch to using it across all shifts to enjoy the extra (but not overwhelming) buttons. It’s a fantastic value and a great way to try the form factor. More discussion on using the Zelotes C18 for radiology here.

Alternatives: Logitech Lift (good for smaller hands) and Logitech MX Master 3 (amazing build quality with best-in-class scroll wheel and feel for a conventional mouse).

Best Mice for Maximum Efficiency:

I personally do not like the Logitech G502 (a classic choice for a few more programmable buttons) or the currently available variants of the old Logitech G600 (an old wired 12-thumb-button monstrosity), but both styles remain popular.

The best of the non-MX Logitech productivity/gaming mice is probably the beloved G604 Lightspeed, which lands in the middle with a total of 15 programmable buttons and has an unlockable scroll wheel for infinite scrolling. All three use Logitech’s older GHub software and have onboard memory that mostly works without the software running.

Bottom line: if your wrist doesn’t hurt, try the G604.

(If you’re going the Logitech route at home, I also really like the MX Keys, which is probably the best non-mechanical keyboard I’ve ever used. All combined with a felt desk pad? Luxurious.)

Best Mouse With Onboard Memory:

Onboard memory means the device itself contains its programming/settings. Once you set it up (i.e. at home), it’ll be plug-and-play on any workstation without needing to install drivers or other software. This is usually very helpful when working at hospitals.

To recap:

Alternative: If you’re looking for an inexpensive option with an insane number of buttons, you might try the UtechSmart VenusPro (a wireless 12-thumb button mouse similar to the G600 with good onboard memory that I used for several months). I personally found it a bit challenging to get the numerous thumb options into muscle memory, particularly since I bounce between multiple PACS setups.

Again, some of the common Logitech options above (G502, G600, G604) also have onboard memory for key mapping, though the more robust (and usually less important) macro functionality will only work with the GHub software running. Again, of these, I would personally choose the G604 Lightspeed.

Note: To clarify, onboard memory just makes you immune to your IT department’s restrictions and makes your device plug and play on any workstation. I personally use the Zelotes every shift at the hospital (pro/con: it’s wired, so nothing to lose).

Best Mouse For Repetitive Stress When You’ve Tried Everything Else:

If you’re still having wrist/hand pain with a vertical mouse (or don’t like vertical mice) and don’t want a left-hand device (see below) to help you scroll (or when even that wasn’t enough), you might try the Contour RollerMouse. It has a unique form factor with a wide whole-hand scrolling bar that is so biomechanically different that many radiologists have used it to help recover from repetitive stress. There is a smaller/portable mobile version designed for laptop use as well. All of the RollerMouse models are quite pricey.

Also, if you like the idea of a vertical mouse but try one out and feel the angle isn’t quite right for you, Contour also makes an adjustable “Unimouse” with a hinge that goes from 35-70 degrees. Contour products are generally excellent.

Cheapest/Easiest Hands-Free Microphone Solution:

A desk-clamp gooseneck mount!

You really don’t need to bring your own microphone (and do the extra voice profile training it requires) in order to go hands-free when you’re at a shared workstation like the hospital reading room or an imaging center. The audio quality of the default dictaphone used for most workstations is just fine. You just need something to hold it in the general vicinity of your face.

There are a lot of brand X options on Amazon, and the listings seem to change every few months. The main considerations when choosing a gooseneck holder are its length and the type of clamping mechanism (squeeze vs twist, which mostly affects the thickness of the desk you can clamp to and how many seconds it takes to attach).

A short (super cheap and portable) holder will need to sit in the midline between your hands; a long one (like this or the upgraded this) can be clamped off to the side hovering over the keyboard, leaving your hands unimpeded (particularly helpful if you’re not a strong typist). I’ve used multiple clamps but have settled on the cheap short variety, which is easier to fit in my bag.

You can also try a tiny tabletop tripod, which are even more portable, but I’ve found them to be a bit unstable for my preference, take up a bit more desk real estate, and can impact accuracy by keeping the dictaphone further from your mouth. Some people just leave the dictaphone on the table, but that reduces my accuracy even more.

With a microphone holder, you are guaranteed that your microphone solution will work since you’re still using the same microphone supported by your IT department that was plugged in when you got there!

Best Home Microphone Solution:

Tons of viable options, but I like a shotgun microphone such as the Rode NTG.

When you are watching a video of someone talking and you don’t see a microphone in the frame, it’s either a lapel mic hidden under their clothing or more often a shotgun mic boomed just out of frame.

Shotgun mics are directional, can be relatively far from your mouth, and have excellent noise rejection outside of the target. They’re a great option for ergonomics, flexibility, and reducing clutter.

I actually clamp the Rode NTG to the top of one of my monitors using this C-clamp and thread adapter and point it at my face, which allows me to hold my head in any particular position–lean back, lean forward, slouch–and still capture audio. A side benefit of this particular microphone is that’s great for video calls, and you can use it when you start your YouTube side hustle.

Mic Alternative: Headsets

Headsets work, and I previously used one for quite a while, but I think it’s ultimately less comfortable over time. When using a corded headset, you’re tethered to your desk. Cheap wireless headsets tend to be laggy, and the audio drops enough that dictation accuracy suffers for most of the sub-$100 headsets I’ve tried.

If a wireless headset is your dream form factor (or you enjoy gaming online), try the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro Wireless. Want active noise canceling? Consider the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal. If you want to go the telemarketer route and can use Bluetooth (I can’t except at home), try the Plantronics’ Poly Voyager 5200 (which you can pair to two sources simultaneously). Desperately want a neckband? Apparently, the Sony SRS-NB10 works.

Most headsets also cover your ears. For a full day’s work, I’ve found it’s easier to shed the weight of a headset and utilize separate headphones like the AirPods Pro 2, which allow you to take calls from clinicians effortlessly, play music from your phone, and offer excellent noise canceling for an earbud form factor; they do a great job suppressing the noise from the MRI (or washing machine & dryer!) in the next room.

Mic Alternative: Condenser or Dynamic USB Microphones

Most conventional USB mics usually take up desk real estate (and condenser microphones, which are usually multi-purpose and cheaper, also tend to pick up a lot of room noise), but in practice, any decent USB microphone should work.

I’ve seen people dictate with things as cheap as a $40 Blue Snowball. Another common choice in the ~$100 range would be something like the Blue Yeti. Upgrades would be the higher-end USB dynamic vocal mics like the Rode Podcaster or Shure MV7, which are just generally excellent microphones for any voicework.

If you have the desk real estate and are planning on splurging for a serious setup that’s also useful for videoconferencing, interviews, podcasts, etc, you might pair your new microphone with a boom arm like the one from Blue that has built-in cord management. It’ll get the mic off your desk, get it close to your mouth when you need it, and get it out of your way when you don’t. When using a regular cheapo condenser microphone (e.g. snowball), background noise can seriously impact accuracy.

Optional Dictation Control: Foot Pedal

The Infinity 3 USB Foot Pedal

Once your microphone is hands-free, you need to control dictation (on/off, previous field, next field) in some other way. Without some help from AutoHotkey, the default keyboard controls for PowerScribe only work when the app is the active window (which still really isn’t so bad). The only solution that works completely out of the box without any software solution to replicate the PowerMic functionality is the foot pedal. The Infinity is plug-and-play with PowerScribe and has a big button in the middle for toggling dictation and smaller left/right buttons for previous/next field. Note: It’s big enough and heavy enough that it feels pretty dorky to carry around.

If you do the extra steps of utilizing AutoHotkey to replicate its functionality, then I’ll admit the pedal is largely superfluous. I still use one at home because I have it, but I’d probably skip it if starting from scratch since I am very happy with my AHK scripts. Still, the more interaction methods I use, the more flexible I am and the more distinct postures I can dictate from.

Best Offhand Device:

Contour Shuttle Pro V2

I love the Contour Shuttle Pro V2 and using it completely changed my workflow. There are other options that have similar (or even more robust) hotkey options, but the Shuttle has a fantastic wheel feature in the middle that has become my primary scrolling method. For the combination of ergonomics and efficiency, I think it is ultimately the best option. Here is how I use it.

The only real downside to Contour products is that there is no onboard memory, so you’ll need to install (or have your IT department) install the configuration software on every single computer you need to use it on (also, that software isn’t super great.) The hassle is worth it.

The build quality of the device itself is excellent. There is a cheaper Shuttle Express option with five buttons (instead of 16). It’s good, but the build quality of the Pro is much better, and I promise you’ll eventually find a good use for the extra buttons in the end. Just get the Pro. I’ll cover how I have mine set up in another post.

Alternatives: Razer Tartarus V2 and Elgato Stream Deck (both overall excellent products, but neither gives you the amazing spinning wheel of the Shuttle; for me, reducing repetitive stress is equally if not more important than hotkey/macro functionality.) The Tartarus does have a mouse-like scroll wheel and a thumb joystick, so it does definitely offer some scrolling flexibility.

There are also some macro one-hand keyboards that have onboard memory, are reasonably priced, and can get the job done efficiency-wise, but most have some limitations and none have the ergonomic/scroll benefits. The ELSRA Smart is quite good, and both it and the Shuttle both have transparent keycaps that you can add labels under for ease of use/memory, which is handy. If you need a solution that doesn’t require software, give that one a go. If you want a plug-and-play option with more buttons, try one of Koolertron varieties.

Note: If you go the Razer route, you’ll need to have the Razer Synapse software running, in which case you might use a Razer gaming mouse like the Naga V2 HyperSpeed Wireless to go with it if you want a ludicrous number of programmable buttons.

Monitors

For actual monitors, what you need will largely depend on who you work for, their contractual requirements, and if you do any breast imaging. Medical-grade diagnostic monitors like those from Barco, Eizo, and LG Medical are very pricey, so hopefully someone will provide them if you need them. Note that they remain non-negotiable for mammography.

The performance gap between magic monitors and consumer panels has narrowed considerably over the past decade (especially for displaying the Super Nintendo images from CT, MRI, and US), and the reality is that many radiologists are now using consumer monitors at home (and many imaging centers are too). Some variety of Dell is by far the most common option, but I’ve even seen people rocking one of these massive ultrawide curved monitors as a standalone solution (though the vertical height is probably a bit constrained compared to what you’d be used to). The Dell 49″ ultrawide is big enough to simulate a 4-monitor setup and even includes a built-in KVM that allows you toggle or share the display between two computers (#screengoals).

If you’re planning on using consumer monitors–and please note that I, of course, am not advocating that you do so–be aware that ultra-high-resolution 5k+ monitors can even be too much to display some PACS comfortably at their native resolution. 4k is just fine. A good/typical workhorse option would be the Dell UltraSharp U2723QE. Some people like to use the larger 31.5-inch version, particularly for their side display to be able to fit more dictation/worklist/clinical info in one place. Note that the included stands do allow for portrait orientation.

Monitor Placement:

When it comes to monitors for a home radiology set-up, the one thing that really matters is height. They should be at eye level to prevent neck strain, so you’ll probably need either decent height-adjustable stands, some thick textbooks, or–my preferred solution–monitor arms.

Monitor arms are a great way to get monitors at the perfect height and viewing angle while clearing up desk real estate. I personally have four monitors that I have mounted with two of these double-monitor arms. They are super stable for the price and include handy USB ports. If you’re sticking to three monitors, you can simplify with one triple arm. You’ll need something good if you’re using something heavy like diagnostic monitors or one of those gigantic curved ones (though a single ultrawide can do just fine real-estate-wise just sitting on its included base).

Monitor Lighting:

Lastly, consider adding bias lighting to help reduce eye strain. There’s the very popular (and auto-dimming) BenQ lightbar and tons of lightstrip options including several that allow for RGB color customization. But, for example, the cheap dimmable option I use for some soft white backlighting will only set you back about $10.

Best Chair

The Herman Miller Embody

Okay, this is purely personal preference. There are lots of great ergonomic chairs available for your home office, but my luxury splurge when I revamped my attending set-up was the Embody by Herman Miller. You can really get in the weeds with this, and there is definitely no best. Testing out things in person is a good idea if you have the opportunity, even if you decide to buy online.

Alternatives: I prefer the Embody over the classic and extremely popular perennial classic Aeron because it accommodates a wider variety of seating positions, has adjustable lumbar tension/support, and has adjustable seat length, which means that it accommodates people of different heights (like my wife). The Aeron comes in three discrete size options. Note: you can often find used/refurbished Aerons at a significant discount.

Offerings from Steelcase (particularly the Gesture) and other manufacturers are also very popular. If you’re looking for something less high-backed/imposing and not an Aeron, you might like the Herman Miller Sayl or Steelcase Series 1. You certainly don’t need to splurge just to have something better than the average offering at Office Depot or Ikea.

Best Desk

There are lots of options for standing desks. I won’t pretend to have tried them all. Common favorites are the desks by Uplift, of which there are sizes, shapes (rectangle!, L!, curved corner!), and surfaces for everyone. The Uplift V2 was chosen as the favorite by the Wirecutter. Uplift often puts their extra stock on Amazon, so sometimes you can find great deals on their Amazon store.

Alternatives: The Fully Jarvis, which can go a bit lower and is therefore good for those shorter than 5’4″. Also note that if you have a desk you don’t want to part with, you could consider a desk converter like the Uplift E7 (but it’s just as expensive, not the most elegant, and you’ll be a little more constrained on monitor placement).

While you’re standing, maybe you’re one of those people who can dictate while walking and get a desk treadmill to go under it? (I don’t know how people do this.)

Full disclosure: I don’t have a fun standing desk. The data behind standing desks is also pretty overhyped (what you really need is to be active more and sedentary less), but I’ll still get one eventually when I need to update the office furniture. If you’re not a standing/treadmill person, maybe you’ll opt for an under-desk cycle or elliptical instead (I haven’t, so let me know if you do!).

Conclusion

At some point in this journey, you may become a person that needs to carry a backpack to work.

Further Reading:

46 Comments

Cole 07.15.23 Reply

Can you explain a bit more about you use the ShuttlePRO while reading? Are you using the scroll wheel on it to scan through exams? Or just to navigate the EMR or something like that?

Ben 07.15.23 Reply

Yes, more so in an upcoming separate post for length.

But in short:
– the freely-spinning central wheel is mapped to the mouse wheel, so that jogging it left/right scrolls up/down.
– The surrounding black wheel is a clock-face style dial: it’s set to repeat mouse wheel scrolling several times per second so that that the more I turn it, the faster I auto-scroll.
– Most of the buttons themselves are PACS tools (window/level settings, measurement tools) and controlling dictation (on/off, previous, next).
– I also keep the right-hand button next to the wheel that your thumb naturally rests on mapped to the mouse’s left click, which allows me to effectively hold the mouse button down for power-scrolling with my left hand without actually having to squeeze the mouse all day long with my right.

nym 07.15.23 Reply

I’m a G600 maxi, you can have like 30 keyboard shortcuts mapped to the mouse bc it has an extra button under your ring finger your can program as CTL. Basically never have to touch the keyboard.

nym 07.15.23 Reply

oh and the G600 has onboard memory too. I wish they made a wireless version

Ben 07.15.23 Reply

If you want a wireless G600, that’s basically what the UtechSmart Venus Pro described above is. Once I switched to also using a left-hand device, the extra buttons on the G600 became superfluous for me.

nym 07.15.23

could function the same I guess but the G600 button positioning is better for use as CTL key especially for CTL plus left click or right click functions

also it’s fun when a surgeon or someone in your office comments about your mouse with all the buttons and you tell them you can make phone calls with it

nym 07.15.23 Reply

I want to know more about using an alternative mic with powerscribe, besides Powermic. How do you do this?

Ben 07.15.23 Reply

Powerscribe recognizes any microphone plugged into USB when it boots up. When multiple mics are plugged in, you can also briefly change the selection from a pick-list, though it can be a challenge to do so fast enough.

Any/every microphone will have its own voice profile and require its own multi-minute training process, just like when you first set up your profile and had to read JFK’s speech etc. Cheap microphones may fail the quality testing, though you can technically still use them (just the accuracy may suffer).

Then you’ll want a way to navigate Powerscribe without the mic. More about this in a future post. PowerScribe has built in keyboard controls: F4 to toggle dictation on/off, Tab for next field, and Shift+Tab for previous field. If you don’t use AutoHotKey, you’d need to click over to Powerscribe for regular keymapping (i.e. from your mouse) to work. The foot pedal though replicates the Powermic controls perfect.

nym 07.15.23

huh I swear I’ve tried more than once and PS didn’t want to recognize it I’ll have to try again

David K. Kim 07.17.23 Reply

Ben,

Great recommendations (maybe I’m saying that because I’ve settled on quite a few of them over many years!)

One thing I would add: A dual-tier desk, such as one of the beefy industrial models from AFC, is really nice to have sometimes. The lower tier gives you a lot more working space for your arms, phone, laptop, etc, vs. a keyboard tray. And I’ve even had a separate keyboard tray below that at one point.

Indirect and underdesk lighting can also be helpful.

Great article!

Ben 07.17.23 Reply

Excellent considerations. I forgot all about lighting!

And absolutely, having your mouse and keyboard at the right/neutral height is critical. I actually had some discussion of that in a separate even longer draft that will go into a separate post. A lot of desks are simply too high for many people without either a keyboard tray below (or a second tier as you suggest) or using a footrest to allow the chair to be at a higher height.

Anup Shetty 07.18.23 Reply

Great article! As a monitor add-on, LED strip backlighting is an inexpensive way to add indirect lighting to illuminate the work space softly without creating glare, similar to the built in lights on newer BARCO monitors, such as this solution that I use:
(Power Practical LED Strip Lights Backlight, USB Light Strips w/Remote for 15 Ambient Color Bias Lighting Options & 10 Brightness Modes, for TV/Computer Decor/Indoor Use, Size (30″-40″ TV) https://a.co/d/8gGGZLe)

Ben 07.19.23 Reply

Yes, thank you–how did I forget to add bias lighting? Will put in an update.

Bruno Silton 08.03.23 Reply

Ben,

Great article! I just found This page while searching for ways to improving my workflow and im very glad that I did. I hope that you can make some comments on keyboards and indirect lighting in The future.

Thanks,

RJohn 08.11.23 Reply

Ben,

Thanks for this article! I have a recommendation that is not on your list. I picked up the “Xencelab Quickeys- Remote control keyboard shortcut” while researching the shuttlePRO. I think it’s worth adding to your list of best offhand device options.

It has been working great for me. I had to have IT install the drivers on my workstation. It has up to 40 programmable buttons that you can even label right on the LED screen. It also has a wheel scroll, is wireless with a dongle-key, and, best of all, allows you so switch between applications so you don’t have to click on the PS360 window to activate it. Did this by setting the “F4-dictate” button for the PS360 profile and the “switch application” button in the default profile to the same button. So the remote switches to PS when it is not the active window. Works well for me and I think you’ll like it. Let me know if you end up switching to the Xencelab Quickeys from the ShuttlePRO.

Ben 08.12.23 Reply

That’s neat.

Note that when using AutoHotKey, which I highly recommend and will get into in a another post, you never have to click on specific application windows to activate them when using shortcuts. As in, when I press the dictate key on my Shuttle, it’s not just pressing F4. It’s actually pressing Ctrl+Q, which I have set up in AHK to switch to PowerScribe and then press F4. This fully mimics the PowerMic functionality.

Even pressing a button to toggle active applications is suboptimal; it’s much better to build that into a script.

RJohn 08.12.23

That IS ideal. Looking forward to your AHK post! Looks like I’ll be the one switching.

VK 09.10.23 Reply

I have been using the Razer Naga V2 HyperSpeed Wireless MMO Gaming Mouse. I assigned the side buttons for widowing and stuff. My first MCP is hurting bad after a long day of using the side buttons. But I like the fast scrolling. Easy to map the buttons to various functions.

Ben 09.10.23 Reply

The Naga is linked above, absolutely solid choice, though it doesn’t have onboard memory, which is too bad. (I personally don’t love the Naga/G600 style with the huge thumb grid, but I may reconsider in the future, especially if someone makes a vertical mouse version).

Ergonomically, I think it’s probably overall better to offload at least a fraction of heavy-use shortcuts to a left-hand device, so you’re not overloading one joint with one motion all day long. I wrote about it here.

Roman 09.18.23 Reply

Really great article. I’m learning autohotkey as a result! Thank you. I have used The Contour roller mouse for years. I am now interested in the ShuttlePro. I saw your Reply giving a brief overview of how you programmed the wheel, but I would love more info about this. Did you map the inner and outer wheels via AHK or the Contour software? Thanks again.

Ben 09.18.23 Reply

Directly via the Shuttle configuration software. I wrote about it in more detail (with a screenshot) in this follow up post: How I Use the Contour Shuttle for Radiology.

Brian 09.19.23 Reply

I think this is a simple question, but I’ve still felt uncertain with my initial Google searches. I am a non-radiology resident, rotate at many sites with many different computers. Would a mouse with onboard memory be able to store text? I’m thinking of being able to store preset Normal Exam findings. It seems like it would be simpler than storing key mapping but wasn’t sure.

Christopher Walker 10.03.23 Reply

Can you post a picture of your microphone set-up (clamped to your monitor)? Thanks!

Ben 10.09.23 Reply

Microphone clamped to a computer monitor

Ryan 10.09.23 Reply

I just picked up the Rode VideoMic NTG. It only comes with a very short USB C to USB C cable. To connect to a desktop computer, you would need a USB C to USB A cable. It might be helpful to add that to your shopping list! I’m not sure if it is necessary to buy the more expensive Rode SC-18 cable or not for this purpose.

Ben 10.09.23 Reply

Thanks for sharing! I bought mine a couple years ago, not sure what it came with offhand, but that makes sense since shotgun mics are often used with fancy cameras (and USB-C ports are increasingly common).

I think any USB cable will work fine quality-wise. My computer itself has plenty of USB-C ports, but I’m pretty sure I’m using the USB-C to USB-A cord that came with one of my Logitech mice or keyboard to plug into one of the USB ports included on my monitor arm.

Darrin Johnson 10.16.23 Reply

I have a Countour Shuttle pro configured on an Intelerad workstation but really struggling to export the configuration file. Wants me to find an “Executable and Modules file”?

Ben 10.17.23 Reply

Hmm, under the ‘options’ button I see import and export choices, which makes a .pref file. I’ll admit I’ve had variable success with the Shuttle settings portability. I usually just make them from scratch the handful of times I’ve installed the thing.

Roger 10.30.23 Reply

Hi Ben, thanks for the article! Is the Dell UltraSharp U2723QE you referenced also good to read radiographs. I don’t plan on reading mammo. Thanks so much.

Ben 10.31.23 Reply

In real life, they are fine. I’ve even seen them installed in imaging center reading rooms. In 2023, the key for monitors isn’t really the monitor quality itself but the specifications in your contract.

B 12.04.23 Reply

Extremely helpful and insightful!

Was wondering if someone might be able to explain how one would go about binding something to a combination of mouse clicks rather than a single mouse click?

Examples include:

1. Single click of accessory button = W/L setting
2. Double, triple, etc. click of accessory button = (different) W/L setting
3. Wheel up/down = scroll through images in a stack
4. Hold accessory button + wheel up/down = zoom
5. Hold accessory button + left click = pan

I’m basically trying to figure out if an AutoHotKey script is necessary to achieve this or if any of the various gaming mouse programs – Logitech G Hub, for example – are capable of doing the same.

Idea would bet to minimize number of “side buttons”, maximize potential number of combinations and circumvent potential issues with AHK (e.g., non-functional on Macs, IT issues on work computers).

Ben 12.04.23 Reply

I have seen the ability to map multi-step macros to individual mouse buttons, but in order to make combinations where modifier keys change the function, I believe you’d need to use PACS shortcuts or AHK. (By PACS shortcuts, I mean something like layering hotkeys to make one function “M” and another function “Shift+M” etc).

B 12.04.23

Hmm.

Fundamentally, it sounds like one sets keystroke combo(s) in PACS, PS360, etc. program and then binds said combo(s) to a mouse, dictaphone, etc. button.

Sounds like one would need something like AHK, X-Mouse Button Control or another equivalent (…suggestions for Mac?) to allow for more “mouse input” modifications – such as single click [button] = task 1, double click [button] = task 2, hold [button + button 2] = task 3 – rather than “keyboard output” functions that bind to a single mouse button.

Alex 12.07.23 Reply

Thanks for the great article, so many helpful things here.

For anyone interested, I’ve found the Plantronics Poly headset to be a nice dictation tool (wireless, not as bulky as some other headsets, pretty accurate). There are USB options out there, which helps get around the bluetooth problem at many institutions (as an aside, I’ve found that the ~$10 bluetooth adapters found on Amazon allow me to connect bluetooth devices to my institutions’ workstations, which I otherwise wouldn’t be able to do).

The wirelessness does give the headset a slight lag when you first activate dictation, so that it might not be pick up words for a second or two. Initially, my main workaround for this was simply leaving on dictation all the time (which generally works ok, just not when things get loud/busy around you). However, I’ve found you can get around the lag altogether in Powerscribe by first activating only the microphone (shift+F4; initially leaving the red “record” button off), then using an AHK hotkey to toggle record (F4). That way the microphone is always active, just not always recording/dictating what it’s hearing.

Looking forward to future posts!

Paul 02.04.24 Reply

Can you use the Rode NTG shotgun mic in dead man switch mode with the foot pedal? I like to hear powerscribe tell me which section I’m on as I tab through the report so I don’t have to look at powerscribe. That doesn’t happen if the mic is constantly on.

Thanks! Great article!

Ben 02.05.24 Reply

The microphone itself doesn’t matter, it’s really just the powerscribe setting. You can control the deadman via the PowerMic (it can be plugged in alongside another microphone), the foot pedal, or even a keyboard control/left-hand device.

I will admit I think it would be fatiguing to try to use the deadman switch with the foot pedal though over a long shift.

Cory 02.14.24 Reply

Lots of great info here. I’m exploring several of your suggestions. Do you have any experience using the ELSRA keypad with Fuji Synapse? I have programmed some keys, and it’s working well for changing window settings, but I can’t get it to activate tools. I have my tools assigned to keyboard shortcuts in the Synapse preferences, and they work fine with the normal keyboard but not with the ELSRA buttons that are mapped to those same keys.

Ben 02.14.24 Reply

Hmm, no I don’t have a reason I can think of why the keys would stop functioning in one app like that if they work to input the correct keys (like when testing in a random textbox). In my experience, they simply input the key just like the regular keyboard.

Cory 02.18.24

Synapse has a quirky requirement that one has to left click the mouse over an image while simultaneously holding down the keyboard shortcut key in order to activate the tool. This seems to be the issue I can’t work around, since all other buttons I’ve assigned on the ELSRA keypad that do not have this requirement work just fine within Synapse.

Ben 02.19.24

In that case, the partial workaround would be to map the key press on the keypad to an AutoHotkey script that clicks the left mouse button while pressing the key.

Something like this for hitting ‘m’ for the measure tool, you’d map ctrl+alt+m to one of the keys on the keypad:

; Define hotkey to trigger the action
^!m:: ; Press Ctrl + Alt + M to trigger the action
; Hold down the left mouse button
Click down left

; Send the "m" key
SendInput, m

; Release the left mouse button
Click up left
return

You’d still have to be hovering the mouse in the right spot though, so it may not make too much of a difference.

Luke Fishback 02.14.24 Reply

Hey Ben,
Great post!
I’m an engineer and have been iterating on a a mic stand purpose built for radiologists — a couple of radiology friends requested it. After trying some boom mic stands and tripods, I designed one from scratch. I’ve got a decent beta version ready to rock. So far we’ve test it with Nuance PowerMic III and II. It’s pretty compact so might work for your use-case of tossing something in your bag (rather than your home setup). I’d love to ship you one if you’re interested in providing feedback. Shoot me an email if interested.
Thanks! -luke

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