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Top 10

2021 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards Executive Brief

Learn how to identify and address health technology hazards in your facilities

ECRI’s Top 10 Health Technology Hazards list, now in its 14th year, identifies the potential sources of danger we believe warrant the greatest attention for the coming year and offers practical recommendations for reducing the risks.


The 2021 list features all new topics. Several focus on hazards that have developed in today’s environment of unprecedented stresses and rapid technological changes:

  • The Number 1 topic describes a technology management challenge unique to this moment in time: the need to manage large numbers of medical devices and supplies that have only been authorized for temporary use.

There is also a new focus for two persistent technology management concerns–medication errors and cybersecurity:

  • With assistance from our colleagues at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), we detail how a convenience feature on many medication ordering, storage, and delivery systems can lead to fatal medication errors.
  • In the IT realm, we discuss the obstacles that can hinder a healthcare organization's response to security vulnerabilities that exist in operating systems and other third-party software components incorporated into their medical devices.

We also explore risks associated with new and rapidly developing technologies:

  • We outline concerns associated with medical devices and systems that incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) functionality, particularly for diagnostic imaging applications.
  • We examine challenges related to validating that 3D-printed patient-specific medical devices are acceptable for clinical use.

Other topics cover how pandemic-inspired changes in technology use, equipment availability, or clinical practice have created the potential for harm to patients, staff, and others.

Are your patients at risk? Learn more about healthcare hazards and what you can do about them. Download the Executive Brief to learn more.

ECRI Members: Log in to access the complete Top 10 Health Technology Hazards Solutions Kit.

Download the Executive Brief