10 Hospital Technology Issues for 2013

Laura Joszt

Technologies used in clinical care that could change care, workflow and/or operations that health leaders need to watch. EHRs continue to be the biggest technology issue facing health organizations, according to a new report.

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) continue to be the biggest technology issue facing health care leaders, according to a new report by ECRI Institute.

The annual Top 10 C-Suite Watch List: Hospital Technology Issues for 2013 identifies technologies used in clinical care that could change care, workflow and/or operations so that health care leaders know what to keep an eye on.

“New demands for information and clinical technology are top issues for executives and objective perspectives are critical," Jeffrey C. Lerner, PhD, president and chief executive officer of ECRI Institute, said in a statement.

Some of the technology on the list represents significant capital investments, while others may greatly affect operations and care patterns, according to ECRI. The list is very different from last year’s — the only repeat technology from last year is EHRs.

“Hospital leaders should ask if new technology or procedures really improve patient care and make it a less costly patient-care experience,” Robert Maliff, director of applied solutions at ECRI Institute, said in a statement.

10. Lung cancer screenings

Early detection of lung cancer is very important and many facilities have begun offering lung cancer CT screening. However, the false-positive rate is very high, resulting in unnecessary follow-up procedures and escalating costs for both patients and payers.

9. Radiation dose safety

The conversations regarding CT scanners are mostly about radiation dose and its harm. Since dose-reduction and dose-monitoring requirements are being propelled forward, health care facilities are looking at optimizing scanning parameters while safeguarding against excessive radiation.

8. Supply chain

Considering 50% to 75% of patients with an implantable cardiac device will need an MRI during their lifetime, it might be better to use a new MR-compatible pacemaker. However, clinicians need to weight the benefits of the devices against costs and reimbursement guidelines.

7. Bariatric Surgery

Clinicians have noticed that patients with type II diabetes had their disease resolve with bariatric surgery.

“Clinicians are asking whether an early surgical intervention in patients with moderate obesity and type II diabetes may prove to be more cost-effective in the long run compared with the normal care practice of pharmaceutical management and lifestyle changes,” according to the ECRI report.

6. PET/MR

According to ECRI, combining positron emission tomography (PET) with MRI can possibly create better images and more accurate diagnoses of certain types of cancers.

5. Imaging and Surgery

Image copyright 2013 ECRI Institute's Top 10 C-Suite Watch List: Hospital Technology Issues for 2013

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Advances in this area have shortened hospital stays, sped up patient recovery and reduced costs. The new trend is for full-scale imaging systems to be moved into the operating room.

4. Minimally invasive cardiac surgery

Last year, transcatheter health valve implantation (TAVI) was number five. In May 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said it would cover TAVI provided multiple conditions are met. As a result many hospitals are considering the best setting for minimally invasive heart valve programs.

3. Alarm integration technology

For two years in a row alarms were ECRI’s top health technology hazard because excessive alarms can result in sensory overload and eventually blend into background noise.

2. Mobile health

The rise of new technologies has untethered doctors as much as the rest of the population, allowing them to change the way they collect, monitor and deliver health care information.

1. EHRs

Eligible providers are racing to meet the criteria of Stage 2 requirements; however, ECRI warns that in the rush, patient safety could be compromised. Health information technology was one of ECRI’s top 10 health technology hazards since a number of issues can arise from inadequate data transfer to patient-data mismatches in the system