ECRI Top 10 Patient Safety ConcernsIn a new top-10 list announced today, the ECRI Institute has identified data integrity failures in health IT systems as its leading patient safety concern. As noted in ECRI’s 24-page report, Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns for Healthcare Organizations, use of electronic health record systems tripled from 2009 to 2012. Increased reliance on such systems raises the risk posed by incorrect data.

According to ECRI, the new list is intended “to help healthcare organizations identify priorities and aid them in creating corrective action plans.” For each concern, the report describes the nature of the risk to patient safety and offers steps to take to reduce the risk.

The list is based in part on more than 300,000 patient safety events, custom research requests, and root cause analyses that have been submitted to the ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization since 2009. The full list of concerns is as follows:

1) Data integrity failures with health information technology systems
2) Poor care coordination with patient’s next level of care
3) Test results reporting errors
4) Drug shortages
5) Failure to adequately manage behavioral health patients in acute care settings
6) Mislabeled specimens
7) Retained devices and unretrieved fragments
8) Patient falls while toileting
9) Inadequate monitoring for respiratory depression in patients taking opioids
10) Inadequate reprocessing of endoscopes and surgical instruments

According to the organization, the new list is intended to complement its list of technology hazards and its hospital C-suite watch list in guiding organizational priorities.

The report may be downloaded from the ECRI website (registration required).