ECRI Institute History

50 years of advancing evidence-based healthcare globally

The tragic death of a young child in a Philadelphia emergency room, caused by a malfunctioning medical device, gave birth to a new kind of organization fiercely committed to the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of healthcare. Since our founding in 1968, ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit, has saved countless lives through our scientific research and dedicated search for meaningful improvements in patient care. Our conflict-of-interest rules are the strictest in the healthcare industry.

1968—Founded as Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI) focusing on research in emergency medicine, resuscitation, and related biomedical engineering studies

1971—Publishes the first evaluation of medical equipment based on independent laboratory testing, launching ECRI as a innovator of medical device safety

1971—Establishes a public Problem Reporting Network for Medical Devices

1973—Testimony by founder Joel J. Nobel, MD, President and CEO, at the U.S. Senate Hearings on the proposed Medical Device Amendment

1987—Designated a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center in recognition of the Institute’s achievements in advancing the safety and cost-effectiveness of patient care

1990-1992—Expands internationally by opening regional offices in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific

1993—Convenes first annual health policy conference to address broad issues about the science, evaluation of evidence, and the use of medical technology, pharmaceuticals, procedures, and health services

1997—Designated an Evidence-based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

1998—Awarded federal contract to develop and maintain the National Guideline Clearinghouse™

2001—Awarded federal contract to develop and maintain the National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™

2001—Cited in New York Times as “…the country’s most-respected laboratory for testing medical products”

2004—Awarded contract from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to develop and implement the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, the first independent statewide mandatory adverse event and near-miss reporting system

2007—Rebrands as ECRI Institute with the tagline, The Discipline of Science. The Integrity of Independence.

2008—Designated a Patient Safety Organization (PSO) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005

2010—Awarded government contract to establish the first National Healthcare Horizon Scanning System to inform federal research priorities

2010—The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History accepts our donation of a prototype medical emergency crash cart, referred to as MAX, designed and patented by ECRI Institute’s founder, Joel J. Nobel, MD

2011—Recognized as one of the top 33 medical innovations in Philadelphia since 1751 in a special timeline in Philadelphia Inquirer

2013—Publishes landmark Patient Safety Organization Deep Dive on Health IT Safety which raises national awareness of potential hazards from the use of electronic medical records

2014—Convenes The Partnership for Promoting Health IT Patient Safety, a private multi-stakeholder collaborative

2018—Appoints Marcus Schabacker, MD, PhD, president and CEO

2018—Develops ECRI Guidelines Trust™, a publicly available repository of clinical guidelines, in response to the defunding of the National Guideline Clearinghouse by the federal government