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Diagnostic Errors Lead ECRI’s Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns


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By Steven Porter

The nonprofit ECRI Institute released its annual list of Top 10 patient safety concerns for healthcare organizations.

Although the 2018 list includes a number of particularly timely topics, including opioid safety and the incorporation of health IT, the top slot went to a timeless topic: diagnostic errors.

Gail M. Horvath, MSN, RN, CNOR, CRCST, said miscommunication is a common problem, but it's often not the only factor contributing to diagnostic errors.

“It’s a multifactorial problem,” Horvath, an ECRI patient safety analyst and consultant said in the report. “Diagnostic errors are the result of cognitive, systemic, or a combination of cognitive and systemic factors.”

The report, which is available as a free download, includes a brief discussion of each of the Top 10 concerns, which are as follows:

1.    Diagnostic errors
 
2.    Opioid safety across the continuum of care
 
3.    Internal care coordination
 
4.    Workarounds
 
5.    Incorporating health IT into patient safety programs
 
6.    Management of behavioral health needs in acute care settings
 
7.    All-hazards emergency preparedness
 
8.    Device cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization
 
9.    Patient engagement and health literacy
 
10.    Leadership engagement in patient safety
 
The full report, which was compiled based on event data and expert judgment, includes links to more in-depth resources for each topic.

This year's list differs significantly from the list ECRI published last year.