PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent media attention paid to the Furby, a small, microprocessor-controlled stuffed animal, suggests that the toy could threaten patient safety by interfering with hospital equipment. Because the toy is mechanized and can transmit infrared signals, some hospitals have expressed concern that it may adversely affect medical equipment. And in response to these fears, some hospitals have even banned the toy.
ECRI, a nonprofit organization that evaluates medical equipment and associated hazards in its monthly journal Health Devices, sees the situation differently.
ECRI researched the Furby's operation -- including performing laboratory tests on the toy -- and believes the toy is unlikely to cause problems in hospitals. ``We tested both the electromagnetic noise and infrared signals produced by the Furby, operated the Furby in close proximity to medical equipment, and found no reason to believe that the toy could pose a threat to hospital equipment,'' says Albert de Richemond, Associate Director of ECRI's Health Devices Group.
In addition, ECRI has received no reports from its thousands of member hospitals about medical device interference or malfunction attributed to the toy. Adds de Richemond, ``Because this is a toy, and may have a calming effect on a child being treated in a hospital, and because it does not appear to pose any danger to the surrounding medical equipment, we see no reason to ban the Furby from the hospital.''
ECRI, a nonprofit international health services research agency and a Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization, provides information and technical assistance to the healthcare community to support safe and cost- effective patient care. The results of ECRI's research and experience are available through its publications, information systems, technical assistance, laboratory services, and fellowships.
For more information on ECRI and its report of the Furby, please contact ECRI at 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462-1298, USA; telephone +1 610-825-6000, ext. 5888; or fax +1 610-834-1275. ECRI's European office can be contacted at Weltech Centre, Ridgeway, Welwyn Garden City, Herts AL7 2AA, UK; telephone +44 (1707) 871 511; or fax +44 (1707) 393 138. ECRI's Malaysian office can be contacted at ECRI Berhad (Company No. 448950 P), 9-2-7, Jalan 3/109F, Danau Business Centre, Taman Danau Desa, 58100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; telephone +60 3 782 5792; or fax +60 3 782 5839.
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