Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2015

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  •  In Insights
  •  Nov 27, 2014
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Alarm hazards, electronic health record data integrity issues, and infusion line mix-ups top the list, says ECRI Institute.

What could possibly go wrong in hospitals? Many things, according to ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit that researches the best approaches to improving patient care. Hazards caused by medical technology are a prime example—because hazards can lead to accidents and patient harm. 

The just-released 2015 hazards list highlights 10 safety topics that the Institute deems crucial for hospitals to address in the coming year.

1. Alarm hazards: Inadequate alarm configuration policies and practices
2. Data integrity: Incorrect or missing data in electronic health records and other health IT systems
3. Mix-up of IV lines leading to misadministration of drugs and solutions
4. Inadequate reprocessing of endoscopes and surgical instruments 
5. Ventilator disconnections not caught because of mis-set or missed alarms  6. Patient-handling device use errors and device failures
7. "Dose creep": Unnoticed variations in diagnostic radiation exposures
8. Robotic surgery: Complications due to insufficient training 9. Cybersecurity: Insufficient protections for medical devices and systems
10. Overwhelmed recall and safety alert management programs

For the fourth year in a row, clinical alarm hazards, a Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal, remains number one on ECRI's list. This year, the report draws particular attention to alarm configuration practices.  

Recall management, which appears on the list for the first time, points to overwhelmed recall and safety-alert programs as a potential for serious consequences for healthcare facilities and patients.


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