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FDA addresses medical device safety issues

Many medical devices involve embedded computer systems that are vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches - like computer viruses and malware. Of course, for New Jersey consumers this may present privacy concerns, but many people may be less aware that lax cybersecurity standards among the makers of devices can greatly affect patient safety.

Study Finds MRI More Reliable Than ECG in Diagnosing Heart Attacks

A recent study reveals that electrocardiograms (ECG) are failing to diagnose heart attacks in many cases. Failure to diagnose a heart attack on time can lead to delayed or no treatment, which can result in a subsequent heart attack-and even death.

Patient Safety Requires High Index of Suspicion For Errors

To improve patient safety, doctors, nurses and all healthcare personnel must have a high index of suspicion for errors, reports a recent Medication Safety Alert in the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. Each person on the team must anticipate and investigate the possibility when any member of the healthcare team, regardless of experience or rank, expresses concern about possible errors or when patients are not responding to treatment as expected. Often the discovery of an error is begun when someone asks a question just because something doesn't seem right. Unfortunately, there is a hierarchy of rank amongst healthcare professionals that creates a culture where even the slightest questions about possible problems with patient care are not treated seriously and dismissed without any follow up. Outright intimidation and disrespect of medical subordinates are rare, but over-deference to "more experienced" providers is common. Subordinate staff who do speak up are easily convinced that their concerns are unfounded. As a result, opportunities to catch errors before harm occurs are lost.

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