Accident and Forensic Investigation Services

Rely on our highly-qualified team of expert investigators to determine the cause of healthcare-related incidents, deliver remedies, and provide legal support

Accidents happen. But they need not be repeated. At ECRI, our technical and clinical experts work with you to determine what went wrong and why, so we can help you build strategies, procedures and safeguards aimed at preventing future incidents.

After an accident occurs, staff members’ actions must center around restoring safety and maintaining normal operations, and yet, the important investigation work must be handled promptly, thoroughly, and in best practice, independently.

ECRI’s Accident and Forensic Investigation services team has the knowledge and expertise to conduct an unbiased, scientific investigation to uncover and document facts and set your facility on a successful path forward.

Why ECRI

With the trusted ECRI name and more than fifty years of partnering with healthcare facilities to promote safety, ECRI can be counted on to help you determine causes and prevent recurrence. ECRI’s team of experts brings independent judgment in a systems approach that considers technology, users, patients, and the environment. Our specialized services include:

  • Patient incident investigations
  • Sentinel event investigations and analyses
  • Root-cause analyses and risk-reduction strategies
  • Technical consultations, gross and microscopic inspections, and biomedical testing
  • Expert witness consultation and testimony
  • Proactive consultations to prevent known hazards

When to call ECRI

ECRI is adept at handling all aspects of investigations and can assist you when an incident occurs. Our experts can handle clinical interviews and record review, biomedical or biomechanical analyses, determination of device failure mechanisms, and simulation of events. ECRI investigators also prepare facilities for any legal discussions or proceedings; they properly document all steps, maintaining the chain of custody of evidence, avoid inappropriate release or alteration of evidence and are able to remain unbiased. ECRI has investigated thousands of incidents all over the country and internationally—our experience and our integrity is invaluable.

Meet our experts

Christopher Schabowsky, PhD, CCE

Senior Investigator and Interim Lead
Dr. Schabowsky is a Senior Investigator with ECRI’s accident and forensic investigation services. He regularly conducts incident investigations of adverse events and injuries involving healthcare technologies and surgical procedures. Recent cases involve ventilators, harmonic scalpels, defibrillators, operating tables, and infusion pumps. He lectures nationally on patient safety topics such as surgical fire prevention and extinguishment. He is a certified clinical engineer and serves on the US Board of Examiners for Certified Clinical Engineering. Download Christopher Schabowsky’s CV

Bruce C. Hansel, PhD, CCE, CPHRM

Principal and Chief Scientist
During the last four decades, Dr. Hansel has performed nearly 1,000 medical incident investigations involving many types of medical technologies and procedures. He has provided technical expert opinion and testimony regarding anesthesia, ventilation, infusion, surgical instruments, monitors, catheters, implants, surgical burns, gas embolism, and more. Download Bruce Hansel’s CV

Barbara G. Malanga, BSEE

Program Manager and Investigator
Ms. Malanga has been with ECRI for 15 years and has worked in Device Evaluation and Accident and Forensic Investigation. She has performed comparative evaluations and investigations related to defibrillators, pacemakers, electrocardiographs, and fires. She has developed educational materials designed to train risk management personnel as well as biomedical engineers on best practices in incident management and investigation. Download Barbara Malanga’s CV

To learn more about our accident and forensic investigative services, contact us at accidents@ecri.org.

Accident Intelligence Program
Streamline access to our accident investigation services when there is an urgent need for assistance with ECRI’s Accident Intelligence Program™. Put important agreements in place in advance, so you can get the answers and expertise you need as quickly as possible, without fear of HIPAA violations or legal delays.

To participate in the program: