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Alarm hazards again top ECRI's list of 10 health IT troubles

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | November 07, 2012

Other returning top problems

Citing an AAMI report, ECRI said the FDA found 710 deaths linked to errors with infusion pumps, which deliver sometimes life-saving drugs to patients, from 2005 to 2009. But ECRI said many problems with infusion pumps, number two on the list, appear to be preventable. Analyzing its own data, some 500 events gathered from 2010 to 2012, ECRI said it found 75 percent could have been solved by integrating the pumps with electronic ordering and administering systems. These in turn could have checked pump programming against medication orders, ECRI said.

The dangers of medical radiation also made it back this year, at number three on the list, although ECRI expanded the entry from 2011's, which was limited to CT scanner overuse, to include all diagnostic devices that emit ionizing radiation. Interestingly, ECRI said one concern is using X-ray equipment tested for adults on children — something shared by number seven on this year's list, which was the thoughtless use of devices designed for grown-ups on the pediatric population. This problem was actually addressed by the FDA over the summer in a draft document for device manufacturers, and it's something providers should also be aware of.

"Radiation dose settings designed for adults are usually inappropriate for children," ECRI said. "The use of such settings exposes young, still-developing patients to excessive radiation-a significant concern because radiation-linked cancer risks are higher for pediatric patients."

For the full list, go here: here.

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