ECRI Institute named ransomware and other cybersecurity threats as the No. 1 hazard that warrants the greatest attention for the coming year. In the healthcare environment, ransomware and other types of malware attacks are more than just an IT nightmare. They are a potential patient-safety crises that can disrupt healthcare delivery operations, placing patients at risk.
Endoscope reprocessing landed in the No. 2 spot for 2018, as many healthcare facilities still struggle with consistently and effectively cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing these instruments between uses. Reprocessing failures can lead—and have led—to the spread of deadly infections. Other topics on the list include bed and stretcher support surfaces that remain contaminated between patients, missed alarms, equipment malfunctions resulting from the use of incompatible cleaning agents, patient burns from electrosurgical electrodes that are not safely holstered between uses, and unnecessary radiation exposures during digital imaging procedures.
The ECRI Institute Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2018 list identifies potential sources of danger involving medical devices and other health technologies, as well as practical strategies for reducing risks, establishing priorities and enacting safety solutions.
—Adapted from “Ransomware and Other Cybersecurity Threats Top ECRI Institute’s Annual Health Technology Hazards List,” by Laurie Menyo, ECRI Institute, Nov. 6, 2017.