Top ten health care hazards for providers

November 05, 2013
by Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor
For the third straight year in a row, alarm management topped ECRI's list of the 10 most common health technology hazards for 2014, followed by infusion pump medication errors and risks from CT scanners that emit ionizing radiation to pediatric patients.

This is the seventh report of its kind published by ECRI Institute. Alarm management, infusion pumps and CT scanner errors also topped ECRI Institute's 2011 and 2012 lists.

In a statement, ECRI said that alarm hazards remain number one "due to their prevalence, their potential to result in serious patient harm, and the increased attention they will receive from the Joint Commission in the coming year."

The Joint Commission recently found 98 alarm-related events over the course of three and a half years, with 80 of those reported events resulting in death. They have made it a priority for 2014 to get health care providers to address alarm hazards.

New to the list this year are hazards associated with radiation exposure in hybrid operating rooms and complications arising from insufficient training with the use of robotic surgery.

"Technology safety can often be overlooked," said James P. Keller, vice president of health technology evaluation and safety at ECRI Institute, in a statement. "Based on our experience, there are serious safety problems that need to be addressed. ECRI Institute recommends that hospitals use our list as a guide to help prioritize their technology-related safety initiatives."

Here's the complete list of ECRI Institute's Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2014:

1. Alarm Hazards
2. Infusion Pump Medication Errors
3. CT Radiation Exposure in Pediatric Patients
4. Data Integrity Failures in EHRs and other Health IT Systems
5. Occupational Radiation Hazards in Hybrid ORs
6. Inadequate Reprocessing of Endoscopes and Surgical Instruments
7. Neglecting Change Management for Networked Devices and Systems
8. Risks to Pediatric Patients from "Adult" Technologies
9. Robotic Surgery Complications due to Insufficient Training
10. Retained Devices and Unretrieved Fragments