Technology plays a critical role in the medical field. Ongoing research, innovations and inventions in health industry technology can lead to improved care, better communication and new treatments that may be more effective.
However, these advancements are not perfect. In fact, there are a number of ways that technology can prove to be a hazard in hospitals and care facilities and contribute to hospital negligence. According to a recent report by ECRI Institute, there are 10 specific hazards related to technology that everyone should be aware of in the next year.
The report on these hazards can be read in full by visiting the ECRI Institute website, The hazards can be separated into 3 main categories: security, devices and systems.
Security risks that may stem from technological hazards include:
- Missing or inaccurate electronic medical records
- Stolen or unprotected medical records and other sensitive medical information
Technological hazards affecting devices include:
- Faulty or insufficient alarm procedures
- Unnoticed disconnections of ventilators
- Mixed up IV tubes
- Medical staff misuse of hospital’s patient-transport equipment
- Increased exposure to radiation from diagnostic radiography equipment
Systems that can present a technological hazard include:
- Improper reprocessing (or sterilization) of medical instruments
- Inadequate training on complicated medical tools, including those for robotic surgeries
- Insufficient responses to recalls or software updates
These technology-specific hazards have the potential to do serious damage to patients. The ECRI Institute recommends that hospitals use this list as a guide to help prioritize their technology-related safety initiatives. They are serious problems that need to be addressed so that hospitals can improve patient safety as they adopt new technology.
Hopefully this list will increase awareness and prevent patients from being hurt or killed as a result of preventable accidents in 2015.