We recently began a discussion about the top technology-related hazards affecting patient safety today. We noted that utilizing potentially hazardous technology does not usually constitute an act of medical malpractice. However, if healthcare providers fail to use technology properly or use hazardous technology in negligent ways, these acts may rise to the level of malpractice in certain cases.
Patient safety should be the primary consideration for both healthcare providers and hospital administrators. Unfortunately, factors like time, money, inadequate education and others contribute to a medical culture unfocused on safety. As a result, patients remain at risk of harm resulting from numerous technological innovations coupled with negligent healthcare provider behavior.
In our last post, we mentioned that alarm-related hazards top the recently published ECRI Institute’s list of the most hazardous technology affecting patient safety in the U.S. today. Other top hazards include data integrity and IV line mix-ups. When incomplete, mistaken or otherwise compromised data makes its way into a patient’s chart, that patient becomes at risk for harm. Similarly, when installation, connection or dosage mistakes occur when patients are hooked up to IVs, these patients can suffer serious harm.
Rounding out the ERCI Institute’s annual list are inadequate reprocessing of surgical instruments and endoscopes, missed ventilator disconnections, medical device usage errors and failures, creeping of diagnostic radiation dosage, complications of robotic surgeries, inadequate cybersecurity and issues with recall programs.
If you ever have questions about the technology being used in association with your care, do not hesitate to ask your physician questions about it. Failure to speak up on behalf of your own care is a regret you will not want to sit with later on.
Source: Media Health Leaders, “ECRI Institute's Top 10 Healthcare Tech Hazards for 2015,” Cheryl Clark, Dec. 3, 2014