ECRI Releases "The Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2013"

By Industry News Release
10:12 AM

Advances in technology can enhance the health care industry, providing various improvements and benefits. However, such developments can also create new opportunities for injury.

The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a nonprofit organization that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, recently released a report entitled "The Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2013." The institute intends to use the report to raise awareness of the potential dangers associated with the use of particular medical systems and devices.

The list is updated annually based upon the frequency and severity of incidents reported to the institute by health care facilities nationwide and information found in the institute's medical device reporting databases. The rankings are also based on the judgment, analysis and expertise of the organization's safety staff.
The report discusses those remedial issues that should be a part of every hospital's patient safety scheme. Health organizations can use the information to help focus and prioritize their efforts to address the dangers.

The top 10 risks on the institute's 2013 list are the following:

- Alarm hazards
- Medication administration errors -- specifically using infusion pumps
- Inadequate reprocessing of endoscopic devices and surgical instruments
- Unnecessary exposures and radiation burns from diagnostic radiology procedures
- Patient-data mismatches in electronic health records and other health IT systems
- Interoperability failures with medical devices and health IT systems
- Air embolism hazards
- Inattention to the needs of pediatric patients when using "adult" technologies
- Caregiver distractions from smartphones and other mobile devices
- Surgical fires

Every concern that made the list has clear steps that hospitals can take to reduce the risks associated with each hazard.
Additionally, every issue in the 2013 report involves one or more of the following safety concerns:

- The problem results in injury or death.
- The issue is a newsworthy, public concern.
- The concern can affect a number of individuals.
- The issue is difficult to recognize.
- The problem occurs frequently.

Hospital dangers and medical malpractice
The institute's report includes dangers and action-oriented recommendations to help address and eliminate these hospital problems. With this information, hospitals and health care providers should take the time to revamp their safety policies.

The report's warnings may help pave the way for revised medical care standards. For example, the findings might help educate physicians on proper and acceptable techniques for administering medicine using infusion pumps (one of the top five dangers).

When a health care provider fails to deliver proper treatment or departs in some way from acceptable standards of medical care, health care or safety, a patient may be entitled to financial compensation. Deviations from appropriate standards often result in surgical errors or other harm to patients.

If you believe that you are a victim of poor medical treatment or care, you should speak to a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney today.
Article provided by Kramer & Dunleavy, LLP
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