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Frequently Asked Questions


What is ECRI Institute's mission?

How did ECRI Institute start?

Why is ECRI Institute a nonprofit rather than a commercial organization or company?

What does "ECRI" stand for?

How is ECRI Institute funded?

Does ECRI Institute evaluate or test medical products for manufacturers, suppliers, or developers?

Does ECRI Institute have any working relationships with industry?

Information on health technology is available free on other Web sites. Why does ECRI Institute charge as much as it does?

ECRI Institute watches and evaluates segments of the healthcare industry and its products, but who watches ECRI Institute and its products and processes?

What are ECRI Institute’s Code of Ethics and Business Conduct related to conflict-of-interest rules that safeguard institutional integrity?


Q. What is ECRI Institute's mission?
 
A.
Our mission is to research the best approaches for safety, quality, and cost-effectiveness in healthcare, ultimately enabling your organization to improve patient care.



Q. How did ECRI Institute start?
 
A.
The death of a four-year-old boy in a busy Philadelphia hospital emergency room in 1964 was caused by an improperly maintained defibrillator. His death gave birth to ECRI Institute. The young physician who tried to prevent that unnecessary death started ECRI Institute and developed most of the concepts and practices now used to manage medical equipment in hospitals throughout the world. Today, ECRI Institute has a wide range of activities, going well beyond medical equipment and including drugs, medical procedures, and processes.



Q. Why is ECRI Institute a nonprofit rather than a commercial organization or company?
 
A.
Our role in evaluating medical products and processes demands that we distance ourselves from inappropriate financial influence. Our conflict-of-interest rules, imposed on all our employees, are far stronger than any other healthcare or government organization—anywhere. Integrity and technical competence are the soul of our organization.



Q. What does "ECRI" stand for?
 
A.

“E.C.R.I” stands for Emergency Care Research Institute. The acronym, ECRI, was expanded to ECRI Institute to more broadly describe our foundation in independence and scientific research. ECRI Institute marries practical experience and uncompromising independence with the thoroughness and objectivity of evidence-based research.




Q. How is ECRI Institute funded?
 
A.
Although ECRI Institute occasionally receives charitable grants to support our work, the majority of our funding is derived from three sources:
1) Memberships from organizations—This membership model allows ECRI Institute to conduct research and provide information and advice, which is shared across our various memberships.
2) Clients who engage us in custom planning and consulting projects such as quality system assessments, accident investigations, or strategic technology planning.
3) Contracts, most often from government agencies—Examples include the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for the National Guidelines Clearinghouse and The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, for whom we develop and maintain the Patient Safety Reporting System.



Q. Does ECRI Institute evaluate or test medical products for manufacturers, suppliers, or developers?
 
A. No, but we can refer them to other appropriate organizations that do. We do not accept "finder's fees" for doing so.



Q. Does ECRI Institute have any working relationships with industry?
 
A.
Yes, but at financial arm's length, consistent with our conflict-of-interest rules. Please contact us for more information.  



Q. Information on health technology is available free on other Web sites. Why does ECRI Institute charge as much as it does?
 
A.
We make some important information available free. See, for example, our public access repository of medical device incident and hazard information Medical Devices Safety Reports: Lessons Learned Web site at www.mdsr.ecri.org. See also our evidence-based guides for patients and their clinicians. With regard to the information for which we charge, ECRI Institute conducts original research, collects data, and organizes, analyzes, edits, and presents it. It is not simply a content creator but a critical source of value-added judgment. Our work has a substantial cost. We do not accept advertising or placement fees from medical device or pharmaceutical manufacturers. The information we provide is unbiased and is not distorted by commercial interests. All our information undergoes extensive internal and external review to assess quality. This too has a significant cost. You may not realize just how much information is positioned in seemingly independent publications or Web sites by commercial or other vested interests or what critical information is intentionally withheld and how the truth is concealed or distorted. The cost of original research, maintaining quality standards, and rejecting commercial support leaves only one alternative. The users of our information pay for it, but in a form of membership cooperative that minimizes cost to the average user. As a nonprofit organization, we have no stockholders to pay, and our Board of Trustees serves without payment as a public service. Our staff salaries are modest compared to commercial organizations.



Q. ECRI Institute watches and evaluates segments of the healthcare industry and its products, but who watches ECRI Institute and its products and processes?
 
A.
The broad answer is the entire health community. The more specific answer is that ECRI Institute has comprehensive internal and external review processes, external advisory committees, open processes, and a value system—frequently reemphasized to employees—that puts the interests of patients over all other priorities. ECRI Institute's Board of Trustees oversees its policies and budget.



Q. What are ECRI Institute’s Code of Ethics and Business Conduct related to conflict-of-interest rules that safeguard institutional integrity?
 
A.