Blog | Tuesday, November 20, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Top 10 technology hazards in hospitals

Health IT issues are rising the ranks of hospital health hazards, a report found.

The ECRI Institute compiled its annual list of top 10 hazards, noting that three issues rising the ranks involve information technology, either integrating these systems to the point of care, or how the technology can distract the provider from the patient.

ECRI listed the hazards online (free download) and published them in the November issue its journal, Health Devices.

The 10 issues are:

1. Alarm hazards (alarm fatigue)

2. Medication errors using infusion pumps

3. Unnecessary exposures and radiation burns from diagnostic radiology procedures

4. Patient/data mismatches in electronic health records and other IT systems

5. Interoperability failures with medical devices and IT systems

6. Air embolism hazards

7. Needs of pediatric patients using "adult" technologies (radiology, computerized provider order-entry systems, oxygen concentrators, pediatric emergency supplies)

8. Inadequate reprocessing of endoscopic devices and surgical instruments

9. Caregiver distractions from digital devices (including non-work related distractions)

10. Surgical fires

Each hazard met at least one of these criteria: it resulted in injury or death; it occurred frequently; it can affect a large number of individuals; it is difficult to recognize; it hadhigh-profile, widespread news coverage; and there are clear steps hospitals can take to minimize these risks, the organization said in a press release.

ECRI updates the annual list based upon the prevalence and severity of incidents reported by health care facilities nationwide; information found in the Institute's medical device problem reporting databases; and staff analysis.