Common Health Technology Hazards

In order for hospitals and other medical centers to prevent themselves from being liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit, they must be up to date on the latest medical technology and how to avoid hazards. Every year the ECRI Institute publishes a list of healthcare hazards that can hurt patients from new healthcare technology.

1. Hackers – Hackers are the biggest threat to the medical community as it tries to go digital. Hackers can steal data, degrade or prevent devices from being used in operations. It’s imperative that all healthcare facilities stay up to date on recommended cybersecurity protocols.

2. Dirty Mattresses – A current issue that many hospitals are facing is that mattress covers are not being properly cleaned which are passing body fluids from the previous patient to the new patient.

3. Surgical sponges left inside patients – Surgical errors such as leaving equipment inside the patient can often go unnoticed until the patient feels discomfort or pain. Many hospitals have manual checks before and after surgery but it still seems to be the most common complication in the operating room.

4. Ventilators Not Properly Installed or Defective – Ventilators are supposed to be reliable life support devices. However, if not installed correctly it doesn’t work which can lead to hypoxic brain injury and death. Many ventilators have built-in warning systems that indicate if it is not working properly but many of the alarm systems are not set up correctly, which means it can be too late in some cases.

5. Infected flexible endoscopes – Endoscopes have a precise cleaning protocol that includes drying. An instrument that is stored without being fully dry can still contain hazardous microbes that can infect the entire storage area. Contamination can also occur when an employee touches the instrument with non sterile gloves during transport.

These are just the top 5. Download the complete report visit the ECRI Institute’s download page by clicking here.