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ECRI Institute Announces Winner of 4th Annual Health Devices Achievement Award
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center recognized for excellence in health technology management

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PAECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, is pleased to announce Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center of Lebanon, New Hampshire, as the winner of the fourth annual Health Devices Achievement Award for excellence in health technology management.  The Health Devices Achievement Award recognizes an outstanding initiative undertaken by an ECRI Institute member healthcare facility that improves patient safety, reduces costs, or otherwise facilitates better strategic management of health technology.   

Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s winning submission, “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Improving Patient Safety in the Adult Medical/Surgical Population through Earlier Detection of Patient Deterioration Using Surveillance Monitoring,” describes an initiative designed to decrease failure to rescue (FTR) events—instances of severe patient harm (such as death or disability) that occur because a serious deterioration in the patient’s condition is not detected in time. 

The project was designed to reduce FTR events through a new application of pulse-oximetry monitoring: using it continuously from admission to discharge. The primary goal was to enhance nurse surveillance in the postoperative setting. A secondary goal was to reduce the number of “nuisance alarms,” which tend to desensitize nurses to alarms. Nurse satisfaction with the new surveillance tool was reported to be very high, and preliminary analysis indicates that the initiative has contributed to decreases in annual rescue calls and transfers to critical care.

“ECRI Institute identified clinical alarm hazards as the number one device-related risk on its 2009 list of Top 10 Health Technology Hazards,” says James P. Keller, Jr., vice president, health technology evaluation and safety, ECRI Institute.  “Any effort to improve this problem can have a huge impact on patient safety. Dartmouth-Hitchcock should be commended for recognizing the problems that alarm ’overload’ can cause and taking on a project to improve the way clinicians monitor for and respond to serious changes in patient conditions."

"The award from ECRI Institute is a tremendous honor and a great recognition for the many people who have played a role in the deployment of this new technology," says George Blike, M.D., quality and patient safety officer for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. "Creating excellence in patient care is a matter of finding and training the right people, enabling them with the right tools, and doing it all within the right environment of care. This tremendous group effort and innovative technology have combined to save lives, which is incredibly rewarding for everyone involved."

Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s award-winning entry will be featured in ECRI Institute’s Health Devices journal and on the ECRI Institute Web site.  A formal award presentation will be made by ECRI Institute’s Jim Keller later this year.

For information about becoming a member of ECRI Institute’s Health Devices System or for submitting an application for the 5th Annual Health Devices Award,  contact ECRI Institute at (610) 825-6000, ext. 5377, visit , e-mail, or mail ECRI Institute, 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462-1298, USA.


About ECRI Institute
ECRI Institute, a nonprofit organization, dedicates itself to bringing the discipline of applied scientific research to healthcare to discover which medical procedures, devices, drugs, and processes are best to enable improved patient care.  As pioneers in this science for 40 years, ECRI Institute marries experience and independence with the objectivity of evidence-based research. ECRI Institute is designated a Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization and an Evidence-based Practice by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ECRI Institute PSO is listed as a federally certified Patient Safety Organization by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources. For more information, visit

About Dartmouth Hitchcock
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) is New Hampshire’s only academic medical center. Internationally renowned and nationally ranked, DHMC serves a population of 1.5 million in Vermont and New Hampshire. DHMC integrates high-quality patient care, advanced medical education, and translational research to provide a full spectrum of health care. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center includes Norris Cotton Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive Care Center, and is home to the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth. The center also includes Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital (396-bed teaching hospital), the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic, Veterans Affairs Regional Medical and Office Center, and Dartmouth Medical School.  For more information on Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, visit


For more information, contact:
Carol Kocher
(610) 825-6000, ext. 5377