News | September 11, 2006

PA Hospitals Form Grassroots Effort to Reduce Risk of Medical Error

Hospitals in northeastern and central Pennsylvania are working together to develop standards for the use of color-coded patient wristbands in their facilities.
Wristband colors are often used to convey clinical information to nurses, physicians and other healthcare workers, but potential safety issues were raised when a patient nearly died in a Pennsylvania hospital due to confusion about the meaning of a colored wristband that had been put on the patient’s arm.
A group of facilities formed the “Color of Safety Task Force” to develop detailed protocols, including a policy manual and training resources, to reduce the risk of medical error when using color-coded wristbands. The Task Force has made the manual and related materials available to other facilities through the Patient Safety Authority’s Web site:
The Pennsylvania healthcare organizations involved in the Color of Safety Task Force include: Allied Services Rehabilitation Hospital (Scranton), Community Medical Center (Scranton), Holy Spirit Health System (Camp Hill), John Heinz Institute (Wilkes-Barre), Marian Community Hospital (Carbondale), Mercy Hospital (Scranton), Mid-Valley Hospital (Peckville), Moses Taylor Hospital (Scranton), Pocono Medical Center (East Stroudsburg), Tyler Memorial Hospital (Tuckhannock), and Wayne Memorial Hospital (Honesdale).
For more information contact: Laurene M. Baker, Patient Safety Authority, (717) 346-1092.