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ECRI Unveils Top 10 Health Technology Hazards

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 14, 2011

8. Needlesticks and other sharps injuries

Needlesticks and other sharps injuries continue to pose a threat of exposing healthcare workers to bloodborne pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis. "Most hospitals have ongoing programs to address sharps safety. But these programs may have been established some time ago and may no longer be receiving adequate attention or achieving their expected level of effectiveness," the report says.

"Continuing injuries are a signal that additional attention is needed; it could be that clinicians are using poor technique, that the safety devices being used should be replaced with more effective models, or that gaps exist in the facility's sharps safety program."

ECRI recommends that healthcare facilities; conduct annual reviews of their sharps safety programs that include assessments of injuries and current practices; and develop action plans that identify and categorize injuries and include remediation plans. 

9. Anesthesia hazards due to incomplete pre-use inspection

The report notes that thorough pre-use inspection of anesthesia units has long been accepted as standard procedure. "However, in actual practice, such inspections can be inconsistent and incomplete. Hospital staff sometimes conducts pre-use checks using obsolete procedures or procedures designed for anesthesia units other than the one being used."

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