February 5, 2024

Session: Fast-forward—ECRI’s top 10 health technology hazards

Editor's Note

ECRI, an independent, nonprofit organization that aims to improve the safety, quality, and cost-effectiveness of care across all healthcare settings, every year compiles and unveils a list of the top 10 technology hazards affecting patient care. The motivation for producing this list, according to Jason Launders, director of operations, device evaluation, at ECRI, is to “reduce harm by preventing hazards that have the clear potential to cause death or serious injury and adversely affect patient care.” And the goal for sharing such a list is to “shine a light on health technology safety issues,” help healthcare providers to “set patient safety priorities and implement effective changes,” and put forth recommendations for action.

The session will pose: What is a technology hazard? ECRI is defining it as devices or systems, design features, or methods of use that show fault and might, under certain circumstances, place patients or users at risk. ECRI introduced its top 10 technology hazards list in November 2007, and 2024 is the 17th iteration of this list. The process to identify topics for this list involves nominations from staff, consultations with external advisors, and a committee review process that narrows down a list of topics based on the potential for preventable harm.

The 2024 list covers a wide range of topics, including device cleaning instructions, artificial intelligence, structural safety, infusion pump damage, drug compounding, and environmental harm, with a special focus on the usability of medical devices in the home environment. This selection shows a trend toward more healthcare being provided in home-based settings, which is driven by the aging population and shifts in surgical care that encourage faster postoperative discharge. At a glance, the 2024 list includes:




The annual top 10 technology hazards list should, ultimately, mitigate preventable harm. The session will also discuss challenges and preventive measures for safely using technology and medical devices—particularly home healthcare devices—highlighting the importance of clear instructions, caregiver knowledge, device usability, and environmental considerations. Attendees will walk away with recommendations for care providers, manufacturers, patients, and the industry to ensure the safe use of these devices.


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