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Medical Malpractice: Alarm Hazards, Infusion Pump Medication Errors, and CT Radiation Exposure in Pediatric Patients are the main Health Technology Hazards for 2014

medical_device_alarm_safety_infographic.jpgHere is the 2014 top 10 Health Technology Hazards just released by the ECRI Institute. This list is developed every year and highlights the health technology safety topics that the ECRI Institute’s Health Devices Group believes warrant the most attention for the coming year.


1. Alarm Hazards (click on infographic to enlarge)
2. Infusion Pump Medication Errors 3. CT Radiation Exposure in Pediatric Patients 4. Data Integrity Failures in EHRs and other Health IT Systems 5. Occupational Radiation Hazards in Hybrid ORs 6. Inadequate Reprocessing of Endoscopes and Surgical Instruments 7. Neglecting Change Management for Networked Devices and Systems 8. Risks to Pediatric Patients from “Adult” Technologies 9. Robotic Surgery Complications due to Insufficient Training 10. Retained Devices and Unretrieved Fragments

It is not a surprise that alarm hazards are the biggest technology hazards facing patients. Today, most medical devices are equipped with an alarm system. In every hospital, clinicians are faced with thousands of alarm signals every day. They develop “alarm fatigue” which may have serious or deadly consequences for patients. 98 alarm related medical malpractice cases were voluntarily reported to the Joint Commision from January 2009 to June 2012. 80 of them resulted in death, 13 resulted in permanent loss of function and 5 resulted in unexpected care or extended stay.

Infusion Pumps are some of the most commonly used devices in hospitals. Because hospitals have to manage thousands of these devices, device failure or failure to use the device properly are common and can cause serious harm to patients. In some cases error in medication can lead to death.

Hazards related to radiation exposure as well as insufficient training in the application of robotic surgery are the two new topics that have been added in the 2014 ECRI list.