Safety is a big concern for sick people up and down the country. Word is getting out that hospitals and medical rooms aren’t as safe as we are led to believe. And that means that more and more of us are coming to focus on the dangers. But what are the biggest risks facing patients today? Let’s take a look.
Hacking Of Medical Devices
Cybersecurity and medicine haven’t traditionally appeared in the same sentence. After all, biology is distinctly non-cyber. At least, it was until recently. Now we have all sorts of treatments that turn patients into cyborgs. It all started a long time ago with hearing aids. But now patients have pacemakers, implants in their brains and artificial pancreases.
In itself, that isn’t a problem. But as these technologies get more sophisticated than before, they become more prone to hacking. A hacked pacemaker or pancreas would be a nightmare. In fact, back in 2011 at a hacking conference, one expert showed how easy it was to hack an insulin pump. Cybersecurity, therefore, has gone beyond just something in the IT world. It’s now a serious concern for patients.
Hospitals are supposed to be safe places. But according to the data, they’re not. In fact, they’re remarkably dangerous. Often problems are simply caused by maintenance problems. Legionnaires outbreaks are common in hospitals with complex and dirty water treatment systems.
In the US there are over a million new cases of sepsis each year. Sepsis has been a problem in hospitals for decades. But it’s only recently that the CMS has brought the issue to light. It produced a report that outlined the seriousness of the problem in the nation’s medical rooms. Of course, hospitals can do a lot to prevent the emergence and spread of sepsis. But too few are actually carrying out the necessary protocols. And that means that far too many patients are suffering as a result.
According to SiebenCarey, death as a result of medical malpractice occurs every day in clinics. And one of the biggest issues in the whole field of malpractice is incorrect medical administration. The Agency for Healthcare Research suggests that as many as one in twenty patients suffer some sort of medication mishap.
Other reports indicate that this figure could be higher, especially patients undergoing surgery. Some have suggested that about a half of all patients entering surgery might be given the wrong medication. Dosages are often wrong; medicines are mislabelled. And, frequently, the wrong type of drugs are used in combination. Thus, there is a caregiving crisis in our hospitals.
IBM made waves in the tech community recently thanks to its medical AI robot called Watson. Watson is an artificial intelligence designed to help doctors make the correct diagnosis from scans. And, from the statistics on misdiagnosis, it appears that the medical profession sorely needs Watson. Diagnosis errors account for between 7 and 15 percent of all adverse hospital-related problems. And around 10 percent of patients end up dying as a result.