HIT makes ECRI's top 10 list of hazardous technologies for 2011

By Molly Merrill
05:12 PM

Health IT complications made the list of top 10 potential technology hazards for 2011 as identified by federal patient safety organization, ECRI Institute.

This is the fifth year that ECRI has released its list, which is updated annually based upon the prevalence and severity of incidents reported to the institute by healthcare facilities nationwide; information found in the institute's medical device problem reporting databases; and the judgment, analysis and expertise of the organization's multidisciplinary staff. Many of the items on this year's list are well-recognized hazards with numerous reported incidents over the years. 

The 2011 list, originally published in ECRI Institute's Health Devices journal (Nov. 2010), offers information about how these hazards occur, with recommendations for prevention and a comprehensive resource list for more in-depth information.

"If a hospital or health system needs help prioritizing its technology-related patient safety efforts, our top 10 list is a good place to start," says James P. Keller, Jr., vice president, health technology and safety, ECRI Institute. 

"From dose errors during radiation therapy, to critical patient alarms that are set incorrectly, inappropriately silenced, or ignored, each of the problems on our list can be prevented or made less likely to occur if recommendations for effective risk-mitigation strategies are employed," says Keller.

The top ten hazards are:

  1. Radiation overdose and other dose errors during radiation therapy
  2. Alarm hazards
  3. Cross-contamination from flexible endoscopes
  4. The high radiation dose of CT scans
  5. Data loss, system incompatibilities, and other health IT complications
  6. Luer misconnections
  7. Oversedation during use of PCA infusion pumps
  8. Needlesticks and other sharps injuries
  9. Surgical fires
  10. Defibrillator failures in emergency resuscitation attempts

Click here to access the full report, and click here to see a one-minute overview video about the report.

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