ECRI Institute Report Asks ‘How Safe Is Your EHR?’

ECRI Institute 2013 Top 10 Watch List for Hospitals

Latest ECRI Institute Report Names Top 10 Hospital Technology Issues

The Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing applied scientific research to enable improvement of patient care. The organization is a designated Evidence-Based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and listed as a federal Patient Safety Organization by HHS. In December the institute released its 2013 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards, a list highlighting safety topic for this year including issues related to health IT.  Now comes the release of the ECRI Institute Top 10 C-Suite Watch List: Hospital Technology Issues for 2013. This report addresses the top issues impacting patient safety, care delivery and more for the year.

The top 10 issues identified by the ECRI Institute leads with electronic health records:

  1. Electronic Health Records: You’ve achieved Meaningful Use, but how safe is your EHR?
  2. Mobile Health: What exactly is it, and what can it do for me?
  3. Alarm Integration Technology: Will you be able to reduce alarm fatigue and improve alarm management?
  4. Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery: Is TAVI ready for liftoff?
  5. Imaging and Surgery: What imaging won’t be done in an OR?
  6. PET/MR: The hybrid that everyone has to have?
  7. Bariatric Surgery: Is it a cure for type II diabetes?
  8. Supply Chain: Will MR-compatible pacemakers explode your supply expenses?
  9. Radiation Dose Safety: CT dose limbo dance—how low can you go?
  10. Lung Cancer Screenings: Enough lung capacity to get in the race?

In looking at patient safety and EHRs, the ECRI Institute makes reference to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2011 report Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care, a report addressing if health IT tools used in hospitals resulted in patient safety improvement. What ECRI says is missing in the IOM report is a “clear indication of the magnitude of risk that HIT presents to patient safety”, and suggests that hospital leaders need to analyze health IT safety issues by asking at a minimum:

  •  If we have implemented all these programs to improve care, have we made real progress?
  • Do we know how many alerts are being rejected or ignored?
  • Do we investigate wrong-patient identification?
  • Have we experienced any automatic stoppage of medication that was initiated by a HIT application rather than by a doctor’s orders?

You can download the ECRI Institute report for free here.