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Top 10 Healthcare Technology Hazards for 2011

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 1, 2010

The ECRI Institute, an independent group that evaluates medical devices and procedures, has issued its latest list of the 10 most perilous technologies in healthcare health providers should keep an eye out for in 2011.

This year's list reflects the group's judgment based on:

  • A review of recent recalls
  • Analysis of information found in the literature and in the medical device problem reporting databases of ECRI Institute, and other organizations
  • ECRI experience in investigating and consulting on device-related incidents

The goal "is to increase awareness of these hazards and to stimulate action within healthcare facilities to formulate programs" to minimize dangers, authors say.

1. Radiation Overdose and Other Dose Errors During Radiation Therapy.
This underreported problem makes the number one spot on the list for two reasons.

First, the consequences of a radiation overdose rarely manifest right away, "meaning that certain errors—such as those resulting from improper device setup or an inappropriate treatment plan—could lead to a patient being repeatedly exposed to an inappropriate dose before the error is noticed in clinical review. And by that time, the damage has already been done, and can't be undone."

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