Top 10 Health Tech Hazards for 2023: A Tool to Reduce Preventable Harm

This is part one of a two-part blog.

Reducing preventable harm is at the core of ECRI’s mission, and has been for more than 50 years. Since the publication of the first issue of the Health Devices journal in 1971, ECRI has served as an information clearinghouse for hazards and deficiencies in medical devices. We collect and analyze reports of device-related problems, identify root causes, and develop practical recommendations to prevent future occurrences and prevent harm.

ECRI’s annual Top 10 Health Technology Hazards report is one tool we develop to help members of the healthcare community participate in that mission. The report informs frontline healthcare workers, administrators, clinical engineers, IT professionals, medical device manufacturers, patients, regulatory bodies, and others about device-related hazards, and it empowers them to address those issues to make healthcare safer.

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Topics: Patient Safety

Strategies to Help Improve Flu Vaccine Access for People of Color

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by various viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can even lead to death. Flu season started earlier than usual this season, and it has been joined by RSV and ongoing COVID-19 to form the “tridemic.” 

We know that getting the flu vaccine is the best defense against getting the flu; and even if a vaccinated person does contract the flu, the vaccine can significantly reduce symptoms. However not every eligible person is getting vaccinated, especially in communities of color.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that inequities in access to the flu vaccine and misinformation about the vaccine can contribute to lower vaccination rates in minority communities.

With a vaccination rate of only 43% during the 2021–2022 flu season, Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults were more likely to get the flu and more likely to be hospitalized due to the flu. In fact, when the CDC examined hospitalizations caused by the flu, hospitalization rates were 80 percent higher among Black adults than white adults.

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Topics: Patient Safety

Don't Skip the Flu Shot This Year: 3 Reasons to Get One—Even If You Usually Don't

As always, influenza (flu) is in the news this time of year, along with recommendations that all eligible individuals get vaccinated against it. As many as 50% of eligible people typically skip a flu shot, and this year the temptation to skip may be stronger than usual.

After facing COVID-19, some people may be quick to dismiss the relatively much smaller risk posed by the flu, and persisting disinformation around COVID-19 vaccines casts a shadow on other vaccines. Several factors, however, suggest that this year's flu season comes with new risks and the potential for a new public health crisis. 

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Topics: Patient Safety

3 Tips to Help Prepare Your Healthcare Facility for the Tridemic—RSV, Flu, and COVID

Posted by Edward Nuber, Director of Marketing, ECRI on Dec 13, 2022

The tridemic is hereare you ready? By taking steps to understand the tridemic, and the effects it’s having on healthcare, your organization can better prepare for and manage the likely increase in utilization of emergency departments, pediatric practices, and inpatient hospital stays. 

What is the tridemic?

The tridemic is the unofficial name that has been given to the rise in cases of three different illnesses—influenza (the flu), COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Flu and RSV cases comprise the majority of circulating illnesses, as COVID numbers have been stable recently.

Alone, each of these illnesses can tax an already strained healthcare system. Together, they have the potential to cripple healthcare infrastructure due to worsening illness severity and sheer number of cases. 

Rising numbers in cases have been reported in Canada and in half of the United States. As the holidays and colder weather quickly approach, and with them a likely increase in indoor celebrations, experts fear that tridemic numbers will continue to rise. 

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Topics: Patient Safety

5 Things Clinicians Should Know About the Complex World of Genetic Testing

Selecting the appropriate genetic test can be daunting, and busy clinicians can be hard pressed to stay up to date regarding the rapidly-evolving landscape of genomic medicine. They need to know what a test does, what diseases or conditions a test targets, what tests have evidence showing a benefit to patient management, and what tests are covered by payers. ECRI’s Genetic Test Assessment service focuses on assessing clinical evidence on genetic tests and deciphering a test’s intended purpose and methodology.

Below are some frequently asked questions from healthcare professionals who use ECRI to guide utilization of genetic testing. 

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Topics: Patient Safety

8 Steps to Address Racial Bias in Healthcare

Woman sitting on sofa at therapy with doctor taking notesECRI this year named Bias and Racism in Addressing Patient Safety as number three on its annual list of Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns. Racial and ethnic disparities have been well documented, and while some progress has been made, the problem is pervasive, persistent, and damaging.

These disparities affect:

  • Patient access to care
  • Patient safety
  • Quality of care and clinical outcomes
  • The frequency and consistency with which reports of adverse events are filed
  • The level of responsiveness when adverse events are reported
  • Patient health, well-being, and life expectancy

Research shows that patients who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups experience barriers that limit their access to care, and affect the quality of their care, more frequently than non-minorities; this includes having an increased risk of being uninsured or underinsured, lacking access to care, and experiencing worse health outcomes for conditions that are treatable and even preventable. 

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Topics: Patient Safety

The Most Common Hospital Accidents and How To Avoid Them

Posted by Christopher Schabowsky, PhD, CCE on Oct 25, 2022

When working in healthcare, it is important to understand what types of accidents might your patients encounter. How can you work to dramatically reduce accidents and foster a greater culture of safety? Here, we'll examine some of the most common hospital accidents, how you can avoid them, and how ECRI can support you in your journey to better healthcare.

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Topics: Patient Safety

Accidents Happen, but They Shouldn't Define the Care You Provide

Posted by Edward Nuber, Director of Marketing, ECRI on Oct 18, 2022

When working in aging services facilities, ambulatory care, or hospitals, accidents can happen during patient treatments, in the patient environment, or in other scenarios. However, accidents need not become commonplace, compromising your healthcare facilities and the level of care you provide. Instead, by taking time to learn from these accidents and discover the right solutions, you can keep patients safer and further your organization's goals.

What types of accidents might your patients encounter? How can you work to reduce these accidents and foster a greater culture of safety for your patients? Let's examine some of the most common hospital accidents, how you can avoid them, and how ECRI can support you in your journey to better healthcare.

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Topics: Patient Safety

Medical Incident Reports Improve Healthcare. How and When to File Them

Posted by Edward Nuber, Director of Marketing, ECRI on Oct 11, 2022

Medical incident reports are essential to improving patient safety and correcting medical errors that could cause harm to future patients. Today's healthcare establishments, such as hospitals, aging care services, and ambulatory care facilities, need an incident control and management system in order to gain further insight into these medical incidents and to conduct effective risk management procedures. Although the concept of recording healthcare incidents and taking action to prevent them might seem relatively straightforward, staff members could have many questions. See below for what healthcare providers need to know about filing incident reports to make the process easier for everyone involved.

The what, when, and why of filing incident reports

When you have the proper management system, filing an incident report becomes easier. However, you need to identify the essential elements that go into filing a report before you integrate these systems into your existing processes. Whether the incident involves an adverse event, problems with patient care, or serious injury, here are a few helpful instructions for healthcare organizations about how to ensure that reports are filed correctly.

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Topics: Patient Safety

Four Ways to Prevent and Control Hospital-Acquired Infections

When a patient comes to your facilities for healthcare, they expect that you can effectively address the issue quickly and with ease and expertise. Now, imagine that this same individual ends up receiving an infection while under your care. The spread of infection in healthcare environments, as well as how it affects both your patients and your healthcare workers, is an important topic to evaluate, especially if these types of incidents happen frequently. Below, we'll dive deeper into insightful statistics regarding infection in healthcare facilities, how infections spread and how they can be addressed, and why reaching out to hospital infection control consultants can help you improve your approach to infection control and prevention.

Why is infection control so important? The statistics behind hospital-acquired infections.

Hospital-acquired infections (HAI) or healthcare-associated infections may occur more frequently than expected, perhaps because patient care might not be as satisfactory as many healthcare professionals believe. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 1.7 million patients contract HAIs annually while receiving treatment for issues unrelated to the infection that they've contracted. Even more troubling, approximately 98,000 of these individuals (about 1 in 17) die as a result of their infection. 

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Topics: Patient Safety

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