ECRI Institute Unveils 2015 C-Suite Watch List

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. — The ECRI Institute, based in Plymouth Meeting, released a new report on Jan. 12 that helps to identify new and emerging health technologies that could help treat patients, improve care and reduce costs. The institute’s 2015 Top 10 Hospital C-Suite Watch List looked at 10 topics for hospitals leaders to follow during the next 12 to 18 months.

“C-suite leaders need a concise way of seeing where new and emerging health technologies fit, if at all, in their health systems,” said Diane Robertson, director, health technology assessment, ECRI Institute, in a statement. “Backed by our unbiased, evidence-based research, our annual Watch List helps hospital leaders make technology and infrastructure decisions based on clinical evidence and cost.”

The first topic the institute examined was disinfection robots. One in 25 hospital patients has at least one hospital-acquired infection (HAI) on any given day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 75,000 deaths per year are due to HAIs. ECRI made several recommendations regarding disinfection robots, including introducing disinfection robots into intensive care units and considering trials with robots to assess their value.

The institute also examined 3D printing and middleware (messaging systems such as smartphones). The institute recommends considering patient safety issues, including sterilization and infection risk. When examining middleware, the institute advises to assess alarm loads, determine which systems need middleware and consider architectural layout, among others.

Another focus for the institute was post-discharge clinics. Federal initiatives are causing hospitals to change their perspectives on patient discharge procedures. The main question hospitals should be asking themselves, according to the institute, is whether clinics are preventing readmissions and saving money.

Google Glass and anti-obesity devices are two other pieces of technology the institute examined. Used during surgery, Google Glass could allow off-site surgeons to provide guidance to on-site surgeons. And, according to the institute, there are three minimally invasive anti-obesity devices in development that C-suite leaders should keep an eye on.

The institute also looked at two treatment considerations, including caring for millennials with cancer — whether hospitals create adolescent and young adult cancer centers to improve outcomes — and fecal microbiota therapy, a treatment option whereby donated fecal matter from a healthy patient is transferred to an ill patient to reestablish normal microbial diversity in the colon.

The final two areas of focus from the institute were artificial pancreas device systems and telehealth. The institute asked what’s coming after the first-generation system for artificial pancreas device systems, and whether telehealth has finally broken free of return-on-investment concerns.

“Hospital leaders must carefully examine their strategic and operational plans and assess the relevance of these new technologies or infrastructure initiatives for their organizations. Our list shows them what’s coming around the bend so they don’t miss out on the newest innovations or get caught up in hype that can lead to a costly mistake," said Rob Maliff, director, applied solutions, ECRI Institute, in a statement.

The full ECRI watch list can be found at the ECRI Institute website.