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Where do you start when trying to minimize the risks from healthcare technology? ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, helps hospitals answer this question with the release of its 5th annual list of Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2011. Available now as a free download with registration, the list features the top 10 health technology hazards that warrant critical attention by hospitals and other healthcare organizations in the coming year.

The Top 10 Health Technology Hazards list is updated each year based upon the prevalence and severity of incidents reported to ECRI Institute by healthcare facilities nationwide; information found in the Institute's medical device problem reporting databases; and the judgment, analysis, and expertise of the organization's multidisciplinary staff. Many of the items on this year's list are well-recognized hazards with numerous reported incidents over the years.

The 2011 list, originally published in ECRI Institute's Health Devices journal (Nov. 2010), offers information about how these hazards occur, with recommendations for prevention and a comprehensive resource list for more in-depth information.

The top five hazards on ECRI Institute's 2011 list are:

  1. Radiation overdose and other dose errors during radiation therapy
  2. Alarm hazards
  3. Cross-contamination from flexible endoscopes
  4. The high radiation dose of CT scans
  5. Data loss, system incompatibilities, and other health IT complications

"If a hospital or health system needs help prioritizing its technology-related patient safety efforts, our top 10 list is a good place to start," says James P. Keller, Jr., Vice President, Health Technology and Safety, ECRI Institute.

"From dose errors during radiation therapy, to critical patient alarms that are set incorrectly, inappropriately silenced, or ignored, each of the problems on our list can be prevented or made less likely to occur if recommendations for effective risk-mitigation strategies are employed," says Keller in a one-minute overview video about the report.

Healthcare professionals can obtain the complete 2011 list and its recommendations at no cost by using the following link: https://www.ecri.org/Forms/Pages/2011_Top_10_Technology_Hazards.aspx

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