ECRI Institute names diagnostic errors and improper management of test results in electronic health records (EHRs) among the most serious patient safety challenges facing healthcare leaders in 2019. Released in conjunction with National Patient Safety Awareness week, ECRI’s Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns for 2019 raises the profile of safety issues that pose risks to patients and healthcare providers.
Diagnostic errors and managing test results remain in the top spot two years in a row. While many healthcare providers rely on EHRs to help with clinical decision support and tracking test results, technology is just one tool in the diagnostic process, according to William Marella, executive director of operations and analytics, ECRI Institute PSO. “We have to recognize the limits of current technology and ensure that we have processes in place to close the loop on diagnostic tests,” says Marella.
ECRI Institute’s 2019 list of concerns addresses systemic issues facing health systems, such as clinician burnout and skills development. Mobile health technology, No.4 on the list, opens up a world of opportunities by transporting healthcare to the home, but also presents potential risks. The report also highlights ongoing clinical issues with infections from peripheral IV lines, sepsis, and anti-microbial stewardship.
ECRI’s list of patient safety concerns does not necessarily represent the issues that occur most frequently or are most severe, ECRI officials say. It identifies new risks, how existing concerns may be changing because of new technology or care delivery models, and persistent issues that need renewed attention or that might have additional solutions.
Topics are selected each year by a broad multi-disciplinary team of patient safety analysts, infection preventionists, and clinicians at ECRI Institute. They identify safety concerns based on member inquiries, root cause analyses, and adverse events submitted to ECRI’s Patient Safety Organization (PSO). ECRI Institute PSO has received more than 2.7 million event reports and reviewed hundreds of root-cause analyses since 2009.