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Health Tech Hazards: How Medtech Can Help Instill a Safer Healthcare Environment
Source:https://www.mddionline.com/ | Author:Heather R. Johnson | Publish time: 2019-11-15 | 376 Views | Share:

For the past 13 years, patient safety organization ECRI Institute has published a Top 10 Health Technology Hazards list. The list serves to make healthcare organizations aware of potential dangers the organization deems the highest priority for the coming year. Although ECRI targets its list to healthcare facilities, medical device manufacturers can use this list to develop safer products.

For 2020, the highest priority health tech hazards reflect our changing healthcare environment. Instead of receiving care primarily in hospitals, patients spend more time at ambulatory surgical centers, outpatient offices, and their own homes. The report suggests medtech would do well to consider all environments when developing products.

For example, what happens when an infusion pump, designed to be used by trained clinicians in a controlled hospital environment, starts beeping in a patient’s home? A caregiver may not know what the alarm means or what steps to take. They just know they want the noise to stop.

Infection risks that stem from improper cleaning of medical and dental devices rank third on ECRI’s 2020 list. Erin Sparnon, ECRI’s Health Devices Group senior engineering manager, suggests suppliers stay vigilant about providing updated, validated cleaning methods and addressing cleaning and sterilization protocols in all types of environments.

“Making sure these facilities have validated cleaning and inspection procedures that are reasonable and achievable is extremely important,” says Sparnon. “Perhaps they need to ask questions such as, ‘What type of staff are going to reprocess these devices? Is there a central sterilization department that can handle complex cleaning needs or is it a busy nurse who has no time?’ All facilities, whether a hospital or an offsite center, should have an easier time following instructions.”



Infection risks that stem from improper cleaning of medical and dental devices rank third on ECRI’s 2020 list. Erin Sparnon, ECRI’s Health Devices Group senior engineering manager, suggests suppliers stay vigilant about providing updated, validated cleaning methods and addressing cleaning and sterilization protocols in all types of environments.

“Making sure these facilities have validated cleaning and inspection procedures that are reasonable and achievable is extremely important,” says Sparnon. “Perhaps they need to ask questions such as, ‘What type of staff are going to reprocess these devices? Is there a central sterilization department that can handle complex cleaning needs or is it a busy nurse who has no time?’ All facilities, whether a hospital or an offsite center, should have an easier time following instructions.”