ECRI Blog

ECRI Data Help Reignite Support for Patient Identifier in Congress

After heart disease and cancer, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States and include misdiagnoses, incorrect anesthesia, delayed treatment, and patient misidentification.

Patient identification has been on the minds of healthcare leaders and policy makers for more than two decades. When the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was signed into law in 1996, it called for developing a national patient identifier that would solve patient misidentification by assigning a unique, permanent number to every individual in the United States. The idea was to implement a uniform approach for accessing a patient’s medical history across the healthcare system. After HIPAA became law, Congress blocked this effort over privacy concerns, and the issue gradually faded from public attention.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Patient Safety

Reining in Unbridled Uses of Robotic-Assisted Surgery

A 2019 JAMA viewpoint article, Is It Time for Safeguards in the Adoption of Robotic Surgery?, explores the risks associated with the increasing, uncontrolled, and indiscriminate use of robotic-assisted surgery. We could not agree more.

For more than two decades, ECRI Institute has been emphasizing these risks based on our evidence assessments and patient safety work. We do not dispute the many potential benefits of minimally invasive robotic surgery procedures. However, we are solidly grounded in the “show me the evidence” camp. Our concerns fall squarely in three areas: patient safety and surgeon experience, evidence, and cost.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Technology Trends

Your Smart Phone Will See You Now

The science of forecasting medical technology is lousy. We hear so many pundits predicting the next revolutionary medical technology advancement that it is literally impossible to keep track of them all.  It is not news that many of these predictions never come to pass. Nonetheless, amazing technology advances do occur and change medicine forever.

Just look back 80 years when hospital wards housed dozens of monstrous-looking devices called iron lungs. These life-saving devices treated people who were unable to breathe because of paralyzed chest muscles. Today, we don’t see hospitals with huge wards filled with iron lungs anymore. Who made that technology disappear? Certainly not the iron lung manufacturers. It wasn’t even a hardware technology innovation that changed patient care. It was a biologic—the polio vaccine—that changed the future of the hospital from treating dozens of polio cases to almost none. Who could have seen that coming?

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Topics: Industry Trends

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Our evidence supports the advancement of care around the world. Read our articles, get industry updates and trends, and learn a little more about us on the ECRI Institute blog.

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