Medical devices lag behind technology outside of healthcare

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

January 7, 2009

The inability of medical devices to communicate with each other is becoming a growing concern among hospital staff members, reports The Boston Globe. Significant medical errors that result in patient harm, and sometimes death, can be attributed to medical equipment that does not operate in conjunction with other medical equipment. In October 2008, some major hospitals and institutions, including Partners HealthCare, Massachusetts General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Kaiser Permanente, created a task force to address the issue. It released language for hospitals to use when entering into contracts with the sellers of medical devices that requires the equipment to communicate with other medical devices.

Although there has been a bigger push for greater connectivity as of late, the industry is slow to change because it's been accepted that technology is in a state of rapid growth, the article says. Additionally, many doctors and nurses don't realize that great improvements for interoperability can be made because they have not been exposed to such in the medical field.

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