ECRI Releases Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2019

ECRI Institute is an independent nonprofit organization that researches approaches to improving patient care. On an annual basis, it publishes a report – “Top Ten Health Technology Hazards”— in an effort to provide the healthcare industry with information regarding safety topics that warrant the attention of facilities and providers.

According to ECRI Institute, “All items on our list represent problems that can be avoided or risks that can be minimized through careful management of technologies.” Specifically, for 2019, ECRI Institute issues risk warnings about the following:

  1. Hackers Can Exploit Remote Access to Systems, Disrupting Healthcare Operations;
  2. “Clean” Mattresses Can Ooze Body Fluids into Patients;
  3. Retained Sponges Persist as a Surgical Complication Despite Manual Counts;
  4. Improperly Set Ventilator Alarms Put Patients at Risk for Hypoxic Brain Injury or Death;
  5. Mishandling Flexible Endoscopes after Disinfection Can Lead to Patient Infections;
  6. Confusing Dose Rate with Flow Rate Can Lead to Infusion Pump Medication Errors;
  7. Improper Customization of Physiologic Monitor Alarm Settings May Result in Missed Alarms;
  8. Injury Risk from Overhead Patient Lift Systems;
  9. Cleaning Fluid Seeping into Electrical Components Can Lead to Equipment Damage and Fires; and
  10. Flawed Battery Charging Systems and Practices Can Affect Device Operation.

It’s important to note that the ECRI Institute does not build its list based on the most frequently reported problems. It also doesn’t focus on risks with the most severe consequences. Instead, as it states in the report’s executive brief, “The list reflects our judgment about which risks should receive priority now.”

MLMIC supports this effort to provide the healthcare community with insight and information that will enhance patient safety.  Click here to access the 2019 edition of the ECRI Institute’s technology hazards report.