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Computer hackers top list of health technology hazards

Patients who seek medical treatment in Iowa healthcare facilities trust health industry workers to provide skilled and competent service in a safe and sanitary environment. Today, the health industry relies on technology as an important tool to provide patient care. Though human error is still a problem, a new report puts computer hackers at the top of the list of health tech hazards that need to be addressed.

ECRI Institute named cybersecurity attacks the biggest problem in health technology in its top 10 ranking of health technology hazards for 2019. The ECRI Health Devices Group ranked 10 hazards in order of priority. The organization says that the risk of hackers infiltrating healthcare computer networks is the industry's most pressing issue. Its recommendation for combating the problem is to monitor and protect remote access points as well as adhere to normal cybersecurity practices like strong passwords and system logging.

Other hazards on the list include mattresses or mattress covers that retain body fluids even after cleaning, errors in ventilator alarm settings, surgical sponges left in patients' bodies, improperly designed overhead patient lift systems, improper cleaning of electrical equipment, improper handling and storage of flexible endoscopes, confusion of dose rate and flow rate of infusion pumps, and physiologic monitoring system errors.

Someone who has been injured by a medical error may be entitled to compensation. When a medical error causes a patient's death, his or her loved ones might choose to file a medical malpractice or wrongful death claim. If compensation is awarded, it may cover the patient's medical expenses and funeral expenses as well as provide compensation to the family for lost wages or lost health insurance due to the patient's death.

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Hixson & Brown, P.C.
160 South 68th Street
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West Des Moines, IA 50266

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