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Medical Technology Risk Management: ECRI Institute Releases Top 10 Hazards Guide

by Edward J. Kroger, MD, JD on February 15th, 2012

Risk management professionals should be familiar with the ECRI Institute (“ECRI”), a nonprofit organization that uses applied scientific research to assist in establishing best practices to improve patient care. ECRI collaborates with the World Health Organization, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

ECRI recently published “Top 10 Technology Hazards for 2012”, a brilliantly written practical guide to identifying technology risks at health care facilities. The guide is available as a free download upon on request here.

The guide addresses ten medical technologies that most frequently lead to patient injuries (and in our experience, malpractice lawsuits):

  1. Alarm hazards
  2. Exposure hazards from radiation therapy and CT
  3. Medication administration errors using infusion pumps
  4. Cross-contamination from flexible endoscopes
  5. Inattention to change management for medical device connectivity
  6. Enteral feeding misconnections
  7. Surgical fires
  8. Needlesticks and other sharps injuries
  9. Anesthesia hazards due to incomplete pre-use inspection
  10. Poor usability of home-use medical devices

Included in the guide are steps for assessing and addressing risks at your facility, including key references. We would recommend it as an excellent starting point for identifying and prioritizing technology risks at your facilities.

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