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Dirty Endoscopes Ranks First on 2016 Health Hazards List

Dirty endoscopes are the top health technology hazard for hospital and other health care facility patients in 2016, according to a report by the ECRI Institute.

The failure to properly clean an endoscope and the re-use of the device can spread pathogens to patients. A series of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae infections in 2014 and 2015 were associated with the use of duodenoscopes that were not successfully disinfected between uses. The report also includes the following risks as top health technology hazards for the coming year:

  • failure to recognize and respond to clinical alarms in a timely manner
  • insufficient training of clinicians on operating room technologies
  • errors when health information technology configurations conflict with facility workflows
  • unsafe injection practices
  • inappropriate operation of intensive care ventilators

The ECRI report includes resources to help hospitals and providers take steps to prevent these potential health hazards.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Matt Buechner is the policy and advocacy associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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