‘Dirty surgical instruments pose a major risk to health’

11th of December 2015
‘Dirty surgical instruments pose a major risk to health’

The failure to clean and disinfect clinical instruments properly is the chief risk in emergency care today, claims a US-based patient care body.

And new healthcare technologies can pose further risks to patients if they are used incorrectly, according to the ECRI Institute.

Each year the institute, an independent organisation based in Pennsylvania, uses a team of engineers, scientists, nurses, physicians and safety analysts to draw up a list of the top 10 hazards in patient care.

Leading the Top 10 Health Technology Hazards 2016 list is the inadequate cleaning of flexible endoscopes before disinfection in order to prevent the spread of deadly pathogens. This follows a series of fatal Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections in 2014 and 2015 along with the ECRI Institute's own studies into endoscope cleaning and disinfection practices.

The institute adds that while new healthcare technologies are intended to improve patient care, even the best of these can lead to problems if configured, used or maintained improperly.

"With all the issues that hospital leaders are dealing with, technology safety can often be overlooked," said Anthony Montagnolo, chief operating officer of the ECRI Institute. "Based on our experience with independent medical device testing in our laboratory plus accident investigations and reported events, we're very aware of serious safety problems that occur."

Other items on the Top 10 list include hazards related to electronic health records; insufficient training in operating room technology, and the misuse of USB ports which can lead to the malfunction of medical devices.



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