ECRI Institute's 2011 Top Ten Health Technology Hazards

Originally posted 1-27-2011:
Most people have a New Year's resolution or two at this time of year.  As we near the end of January, I'm guessing some of the resolutions have already been broken. 

With the theme of making improvements for 2011, I wanted to share a list that shouldn't be ignored past the month of January: The ECRI Institute's Top Ten Health Technology Hazards list for 2011.  The list highlights technology that can potential cause the most harm to patients when not implemented or working properly. It provides a nice starting point for hospitals that are looking for areas to be proactive in their Patient Safety efforts. 

This year's Top Ten list:
  1. Radiation Overdose and Other Dose Errors during Radiation Therapy
  2. Alarm Hazards
  3. Cross Contamination from Flexible Endoscopes
  4. High Radiation Dose from CT Scanners
  5. Data Loss, System Incompatibilities, and Other IT Complications
  6. Luer Misconnections
  7. Oversedation during use of PCA Infusion Pumps
  8. Needlesticks and Other Sharps Injuries
  9. Surgical Fires
  10. Defibrillators Failures in Emergency Resuscitation Attempts
The nice thing about the list is that it provides a little background behind each hazard.  It goes on to provide tips around how to address each of the hazards to protect patients from harm.  The advice given is coming a system level view around the technology, as they make suggestions like having a protocol around alarm-system settings, providing proper staff training for equipment, and having a clinician double check PCA pump programming. The list is not comprehensive, but provides a nice high level overview of potential technology hazards and how a hospital can build the system around the technology to stop any potential harm from reaching the patient. The best part is, the list is free.  The link above will take you to the page to sign up for the list.

Here's to a safer 2011!