ECRI Institute has released its 2017 list of the top technology hazards in healthcare with mismanagement of medical device software coming in at No. 6.
According to ECRI, mishandling of software could lead to technology vulnerabilities leaving patients at risk. Management gaps could result in delays in identification of necessary updates “including those that address safety concerns.”
The aim of the list is to give healthcare mangers an overview of the threats when it comes to safe use of technology by identifying the potential sources of danger that ECRI believes warrant attention for the coming year.
The list does not include most frequently-reported problems but those connected to the most serious consequences.
“All the items on our list represent problems that can be avoided or risks that can be minimized through the careful management of technologies.” ECRI explained in a report accompanying the list.
The list for 2017:
- Infusion errors can be deadly if simple safety steps are overlooked
- Inadequate cleaning of complex reusable instruments can lead to infections
- Missed ventilator alarms can lead to patient harm
- Undetected opioid-induced respiratory depression
- Infection risks with heater-cooler devices used in cardiothoracic surgery
- Software management gaps put patients, and patient data, at risk
- Occupational radiation hazards in hybrid ORs
- Automated dispensing cabinet setup and use errors may cause medication mishaps
- Surgical stapler misuse and malfunctions
- Device failures caused by cleaning products and practices
ECRI compiles its annual list based on severity, frequency, breadth, insidiousness and profile. It is also important that threats are preventable.
“This list focuses on what we call generic hazards—problems that result from the risks inherent to the use of certain types or combinations of medical technologies. It does not discuss risks or problems that pertain to specific models or suppliers. ECRI Institute engineers, scientists, clinicians, and other patient safety analysts nominate topics for consideration based on their own expertise and insight,” ECRI said.
Image Credit: ECRI