Nurses: Med devices must be interoperable

Interoperability of medical devices could help reduce medical errors at hospitals, according to a majority of nurses responding to a survey by Harris Poll. 

Half of the respondents to the online survey, conducted on behalf of the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, said they were witnesses to a medical error because of a lack of interoperability between devices, according to an announcement on the survey.

Some of the survey's findings include:

  • 60 percent of respondents said proper communication of devices would help to eliminate issues
  • 46 percent said an error is likely to occur when data is manually transcribed between devices
  • 74 percent said it is "very" or "somewhat" burdensome to coordinate medical device data
  • 93 percent said devices should be interoperable

"The survey helps show how much of a nurse's time could be better spent in direct care of patients and families, and how errors could be potentially avoided if medical devices ... were able to take the next step and seamlessly share critical information around the patient's bedside," Joseph Smith, West Health Institute's chief medical and science officer, said in the announcement.

However, one of the issues regarding interoperability of such devices is concern over security.

Draft guidance published last summer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is paving the way for smoother medical device interoperability by lowering the burden on developers of medical device data systems to comply with agency requirements.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement