ECRI Institute Guidebook Confronts Convergence Of Medical Devices And IT

March 3, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

IT professionals in healthcare now confront a new challenge: the convergence of information technology and medical devices. As rapid advances in technology blur the boundary between medical devices and computers, IT professionals must deal not only with mission-critical IT systems but also with life-critical medical devices. And, as the saying goes, failure is not an option. Infusion pumps include microchips that store critical patient data that must then be transmitted accurately across hospital networks, for example, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) devices now threaten to interfere with the proper functioning of medical equipment. And the list of IT-intensive medical devices grows by the day.

To help healthcare IT professionals understand IT-intensive medical equipment, ECRI InstituteĀ® (, an independent nonprofit that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, has released a new reference book, Medical Technology for the IT Professional: An Essential Guide for Working in Today’s Healthcare Setting.

With over $19 billion appropriated for healthcare IT in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, jobs in this sector are expected to grow significantly over the next several years. ECRI Institute’s new guide will provide those interested in changing careers from other IT professions to healthcare IT with the extra edge they will need to enter this exciting-yet very competitive-profession.

James P. Keller, Jr., MS, Vice President, Health Technology Evaluation and Safety, ECRI Institute, explains, “Because more and more medical devices are computer based, hospital IT departments are increasingly being drawn into medical device issues. In some cases, IT departments have assumed full responsibility for procurement and support of IT-based medical devices. These new responsibilities require IT professionals to have a fundamental understanding of these medical devices. Our guidebook provides that fundamental knowledge.”

ECRI Institute’s new comprehensive resource covers medical technologies that are heavily IT-based or highly integrated into IT infrastructures. It examines medical-device-related security and patient safety concerns to allow IT professionals to effectively contribute to their hospitals’ efforts to support, acquire, and implement IT-based medical technologies.

Eight of the book’s 10 chapters examine specific medical technologies, such as physiologic monitors, clinical laboratory analyzers, and imaging systems, and then dive deeper into the challenges they present to IT. Illustrations and clear-cut language allow the reader to more fully understand components and functions behind technologies like infusion pumps and RFID.

“There is great value in having clear, current, and relevant information that breaks down the gray areas into useful, easy-to-understand information,” says Bruce A. Marcolongo, ASRT (R) (MR) MCP, Assistant Director Information Services, Universal Health Service, Inc. “ECRI Institute’s Medical Technology for the IT Professional is a wonderful and timely primer for the healthcare, healthcare IT, and informatics professional looking to understand the ‘integration’ and impact of the technologies in today’s healthcare setting. It’s a must read for those entering the profession today.”

To order, or for more information about, Medical Technology for the IT Professional: An Essential Guide for Working in Today’s Healthcare Setting, visit, contact, or contact ECRI Institute by telephone at +1 (610) 825-6000, ext. 5891; by fax at +1 (610) 834-1275; or by mail at 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462.

About ECRI Institute

ECRI Institute, a nonprofit organization, dedicates itself to bringing the discipline of applied scientific research to healthcare to discover which medical procedures, devices, drugs, and processes are best to improve patient care. As pioneers in this science for 40 years, ECRI Institute marries experience and independence with the objectivity of evidence-based research. ECRI Institute is designated a Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization and an Evidence-based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ECRI Institute PSO is designated a Patient Safety Organization by the U.S. Agency for Health and Human Services under the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005.

ECRI Institute



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