The safety of electronic health records, imaging technology and alarms all are seen as significant issues that should be on the top healthcare executives' minds in 2013, according to a new report unveiled this week by the ECRI Institute.
The report outlines the top 10 hospital technology issues for c-suite leaders to watch for this year, as compiled by the Plymouth Meeting, Pa.-based nonprofit organization. Here's the full list:
- Electronic health records
- Mobile health devices
- Alarm integration technology
- Minimally invasive cardiac surgery
- Imaging and surgery
- Bariatric surgery
- Supply chain
- Radiation dosage
- Lung cancer screenings
With particular regard to EHRs, the report's authors say that, despite evidence from the Institute of Medicine and even ECRI's own Patient Safety Organization deep dive published earlier this month, it remains difficult to "quantitatively determine" how things like adverse drug events and medication errors are being minimized.
"It's widely agreed upon that work-arounds are most often put in place if a system is considered too intrusive, or if workflow changes are required," the report's authors write. "Has HIT, while addressing performance issues, introduced new opportunities for errors?"
ECRI director of applied solutions Robert Maliff, in an announcement accompanying the report, adds that hospital leaders should make a point to ask if newer technologies or procedures actually improve care, a big concern with regard to mobile health technologies, according to the report's authors.
"Very little supporting evidence exists outlining exactly how much money can be saved by improving mobile device technology in healthcare," they say. "The lack of supporting evidence is the main reason for the slow adoption of these new mobile technologies."
Meanwhile, regarding combination PET/MR scans, the authors warn hospital executives to "not minimize" necessary renovations that will be needed prior to even starting installation. "Not many facilities have an open space with the appropriate shielding requirements for both radiofrequency/magnetic fields and radiation," they say. "Existing PET spaces are typically unable to physically support the weight of the MRI magnet, whereas existing MRI spaces typically lack the additional support spaces needed for PET studies."
In ECRI's PSO deep dive, the authors point out that while health IT's promise for improving patient safety and care quality is significant, the risks of jeopardizing patient safety and care can be just as significant. "As healthcare facilities respond to government incentives to adopt health IT, they must also keep their attention focused on how systems affect safety to ensure that the benefits of health IT can be realized," the PSO report's authors say.
To learn more:
- here's the ECRI report (.pdf)
- read the accompanying announcement