Top 10 Technology Hazards: High-Priority Risks and What to Do about Them

April 20, 2017 | Evaluations & Guidance


Where do you start when trying to minimize the risks from healthcare technology?

For the past few years, we’ve been trying to help the healthcare community answer that question with our annual list of the 10 most crucial technology hazards. The list is derived from our experience in investigating and consulting on device-related incidents, as well as from information found in the medical device problem reporting databases of ECRI Institute and other organizations.

The choice of which hazards to include, and in what order, is based on the likelihood and severity of the reports we’ve received over the past year, the recalls and other actions we’ve reviewed, and our continuing examination of the published literature. Of course, any list like this one is arbitrary to a degree. Not only are relative risks impossible to define precisely, but the importance of any given hazard will depend on the circumstances of the individual hospital. So while we believe that this list represents the top 10 safety issues in healthcare overall, they may not be yourtop 10.

The purpose of this list isn’t to establish a one-size-fits-all set of priorities for all hospitals everywhere. Rather, it’s to identify the problems that we believe are the most crucial right now, and that hospitals should consider putting at the top of their to-do lists for keeping patients safe from technology-related risks.

Several of the hazards are Joint Commission sentinel events. The references for the associated Sentinel Event Alerts are included in the resource lists for those hazards. Healthcare facilities should be aware that under the Joint Commission’s Environment of Care standards, any sentinel event will be subject to a review by the commission.

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