Top ten health hazards


In a recent Health Devices guidance article, ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, reveals its 2008 list of the 10 most dangerous health technology hazards facing hospitals. The list updated annually based on problems reported to and investigated by ECRI Institute includes detailed descriptions of these hazards, as well as concrete information on how to avoid them. The article is being offered to healthcare professionals for free to help them understand and prevent these dangerous and sometimes deadly hazards.

In creating its annual list, ECRI Institute draws upon its 40 years of experience in investigating device-related incidents on behalf of healthcare facilities. And the clear, realistic recommendations offered within are distilled from dozens of in-depth articles and thousands of hours of expert analysis.

The top five health technology hazards identified in the 2008 list are:

1.      Alarm Hazards

2.      Needlesticks and Other Sharps Injuries

3.      Air Embolism from Contrast Media Injectors

4.      Retained Devices and Un-retrieved Fragments Left in Patients

5.      Surgical Fires

“Our list is based on serious technology safety concerns that can be prevented with appropriate attention and planning.  We hope that the list can help raise awareness about these problems, which should be on every hospital’s quality improvement agenda,” says James P. Keller, Jr., vice president, health technology evaluation and safety, ECRI Institute.

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