ECRI issues health technology watch list for 2009

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High-field-strength MRI and high-slice-count CT are top technologies that hospital c-suite executives need to keep their eyes on in 2009, according to a technology watch list released Monday by the ECRI Institute.

The Top 10 Hospital Technology Issues: C-Suite Watch List for 2009 and Beyond includes technologies and technology-related issues across a variety of clinical and operational areas, such as health IT, cardiovascular surgery, oncologic radiation, procurement, infection control, and imaging and radiology services.

With the economy putting hospital budgets on hold and executives struggling to decide whether to replace, upgrade or defer capital spending, the report is intended to help guide healthcare leaders in planning for capital expenditures. It covers technologies such as EMRs, hybrid ORs, and ultra-high-field-strength MRI and premium-slice CT. And also contains long-term statistics on hospital purchasing trends from ECRI's price-paid database, according to the institution.

"Prioritizing is a tough but essential job for executives who face a squeeze on their capital budgets, insistent demand from clinicians concerned with patient care and personal income, and the well being and strategic directions of their institutions," said Jeffrey C. Lerner, PhD, president and CEO of ECRI, adding that the ranking of 10 critical technologies will help "them to pay close attention to technologies and issues that have a significant impact."

ECRI's top 10 technology and technology issues are:
1. EMRs;
2. Ultra-high-field-strength MRIs and premium-slice CT;
3. Physician preference items;
4. Robotic-assisted systems for surgery and endovascular catheterization;
5. Radiation oncology;
6. Radio-frequency identification technology;
7. Alarm integration technology;
8. Hybrid operating rooms;
9. Therapeutic hypothermia after heart attack, stroke, spinal cord injury; and
10. Rapid tests for deadly infections.

ECRI Institute's technology watch list is available for free download.