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A list of health technology hazards for 2016

December 7, 2015
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
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For the seventh year, inadequate cleaning of flexible endoscopes made the list of "Top 10 Health Technology Hazards" for 2016.

ECRI Institute, a nonprofit organization that conducts independent laboratory testing of medical products, compiles an annual list to help healthcare providers identify potential source of danger.  

Chris Levanchy, engineer director of ECRI’s health devices group, told the Philadelphia Business Journal part of what makes endoscopes difficult to clean is that health care providers can’t see inside the scopes. Health care providers might assume deficiencies in the cleaning process will be caught through sterilization and disinfection, but that isn’t always the case, Levanchy says.

The Food and Drug Administration issued an alert earlier this year that manufacturer-recommended cleaning procedures may not completely clean retrograde cholangiopancreatography duodenoscopes (ERCP).  

ECRI’s list of health technology hazards:

  1. Inadequate cleaning of flexible endoscopes before disinfection can spread deadly pathogens
  2. Missed alarms can have fatal consequences
  3. Failure to effectively monitor postoperative patients for opioid-induced respiratory depression  can lead to brain injury or death
  4. Inadequate surveillance of monitored patients in a telemetry setting may put pateients at risk
  5. Insufficient training of clinicians on operating room technologies puts patients at increased risk of harm
  6. Errors arise when HIT configurations and facility workflow do not support each other
  7. Unsafe injection practices expose patients to infectious agents
  8. Gamma camera mechanical failures can lead to serious injury or death
  9. Failure to appropriately operate intensive care ventilators can result in preventable ventilator-induced lung injuries
  10. Misuse of USB ports that cause medical devices to malfunction­

Download the list here.

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