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ECRI Announces Top 10 Healthcare Technology Hazards

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 5, 2013

ECRI Institute collects data on adverse events and near misses and releases an annual report on the top technology dangers in healthcare.

Occupational radiation hazards to healthcare workers in 'hybrid' operating rooms, failure to test EHR software or network devices before they're used, and surgical errors caused by insufficient training on robot devices are three new types of danger that made the ECRI Institute's top 10 technology hazards list for 2014.

"Every year that we've published this list it's continued to get more attention, and I believe it's helped healthcare organizations focus on important technology concerns," James P. Keller, ECRI's vice president of health technology evaluation and safety, said in an interview about the 7th annual report, which the institute released Monday.

"In my 29 years with ECRI, I don't believe hospitals have paid close enough attention to technology safety."

Keller added that "One simple example of where healthcare organizations can do a better job is to pay closer attention to training for clinical staff on the use of complicated technologies, and the robotics problem that we have on the list is one example of that."

ECRI's analysts determine which hazards make the list on the basis of the severity of potential harm, probability, extent of consequences, difficulty of detection, and the likelihood of generating negative media publicity. All of those on the list are considered preventable.

ECRI collects documentation of adverse events and near misses from a number of sources:

1. Hospitals across the country voluntarily and confidentially submit information about incidents that occurred in their organizations to ECRI's "Problem Reporting Network."

2. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience database.

3. ECRI's proprietary data culled from

  • Its accident and forensic investigation program
  • Its analysis of newer technologies
  • Its device testing lab
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