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ECRI Report: 3 of Top 10 Health Hazards Are HIT-Related

Written by  Kathleen Roney | Friday, 16 November 2012 14:12
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The ECRI Institute has released its 2013 list of the top health IT hazards, and three of the topics are related to health information technology.
The three HIT-related hazards are patient/data mismatches in electronic health records and other health IT systems; interoperability failures with medical devices and health IT systems; and caregiver distractions from smartphones and other mobile devices.

The organization puts together an annual list of potential technological hazards that it believes deserve special attention in the coming year. According to the report, the health IT field is where the interplay between complexity, effectiveness and potential harm is most evident, which explains why three of the 10 are related to HIT.

"The inherent complexity of HIT-related medical technologies, their potential to introduce new failure modes and the possibility that such failures will affect many patients before being noticed — combined with federal incentives to meet meaningful use requirements — leads us to encourage healthcare facilities to pay particular attention to health IT when prioritizing their safety initiatives for 2013," said James P. Keller Jr., vice president of health technology evaluation and safety for ECRI Institute, according to the release.

This year, the 10 health IT hazards include:

1. Alarm hazards.
2. Medication administration errors using infusion pumps.
3. Unnecessary exposures and radiation burns from diagnostic radiology procedures.
4. Patient/data mismatches in electronic health records and other health IT systems.
5. Interoperability failures with medical devices and health IT systems.
6. Air embolism hazards.
7. Inattention to the needs of pediatric patients when using "adult" technologies.
8. Inadequate reprocessing of endoscopic devices and surgical instruments.
9. Caregiver distractions from smartphones and other mobile devices.
10. Surgical fires.

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