Dirty endoscopes top ECRI's list of 10 health technology hazards for 2016

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The ECRI Institute has released the 2016 version of its annual list of the top 10 health technology hazards, listing technologies commonly used in healthcare settings and the risks they can cause when not used properly.

This year's list has a new hazard on top: inadequate cleaning of endoscopes prior to disinfection and the resulting increased risk of infection spread. Previously, the No. 1 hazard had been safety risks from clinical alarms.

The ECRI Institute puts together its list to "help hospitals prioritize safety efforts that warrant their attention and to reduce risks to patients." A staff of engineers, scientists, nurses, physicians and safety analysts form the list each year.

The Institute's report includes the following 10 health technology hazards:

1. Flexible endoscopes: Inadequate cleaning before disinfection can spread germs

2. Alarms: Missed alarms can have fatal consequences

3. Monitoring postoperative patients for opioid-induced respiratory depression: Failure to do so effectively can lead to brain injury or death

4. Monitoring patients in telemetry setting: Inadequate surveillance can put patients at risk

5. Operating room technology: Insufficient clinician training puts patients at risk

6. Healthcare IT configurations and facility workflow: Errors can arise when they don't support each other

7. Syringes: Unsafe injection practices can lead to possible patient exposure to pathogens

8. Gamma cameras: Mechanical failures can lead to injury or death

9. Intensive care ventilators: Failure to operate them properly can cause ventilator-induced lung injuries

10. USB ports: Misuse can cause medical device malfunction

Access the full "2016 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards" list here.

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