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Type: Journal article
Title: Making existing technology safer in healthcare
Author: Newton, R.
Mytton, O.
Aggarwal, R.
Runciman, W.
Free, M.
Fahlgren, B.
Akiyama, M.
Farlow, B.
Yaron, S.
Locke, G.
Whittaker, S.
Citation: Quality and Safety in Health Care, 2010; 19(Suppl. 2):i15-i24
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 1475-3898
Statement of
Richard C Newton, Oliver T Mytton, Rajesh Aggarwal, William B Runciman, Michael Free, Bjorn Fahlgren, Masanori Akiyama, Barbara Farlow, Sara Yaron, Gerad Locke and Stuart Whittaker
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Technology, equipment and medical devices are vital for effective healthcare throughout the world but are associated with risks. These risks include device failure, inappropriate use, insufficient user-training and inadequate inspection and maintenance. Further risks within the developing world include challenging conditions of temperature and humidity, poor infrastructure, poorly trained service providers, limited resources and supervision, and inappropriately complex equipment being supplied without backup training for its use or maintenance. METHODS: This document is the product of an expert working group established by WHO Patient Safety to define the measures being taken to reduce these risks. It considers how the provision of safer technology services worldwide is being enhanced in three ways: through non-punitive and open reporting systems of technology-related adverse events and near-misses, with classification and investigation; through healthcare quality assessment, accreditation and certification; and by the investigation of how appropriate design and an understanding of the conditions of use and associated human factors can improve patient safety. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Many aspects of these steps remain aspirational for developing countries, where highly disparate needs and a vast range of technology-related problems exist. Here, much greater emphasis must be placed on failsafe, durable and user-friendly design--examples of which are described.
Keywords: Humans; Product Surveillance, Postmarketing; Developing Countries; Government Regulation; World Health Organization; Certification; Advisory Committees; Technology Assessment, Biomedical; Efficiency, Organizational; Quality Assurance, Health Care; Patient Safety
Rights: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and
RMID: 0030013617
DOI: 10.1136/qshc.2009.038539
Appears in Collections:Translational Health Science publications

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