Anyone who has watched medical shows knows what “Code Blue” is. For those who don’t know, it’s the medical facility’s emergency code where the patient needs to be resuscitated. It’s not the only color code, but it’s one of the few health care professionals who know it off the top of their head, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Georgia.
“Healthcare facilities have traditionally relied on code-based notifications to quickly and efficiently alert employees to ongoing emergencies affecting or within the facility,” co-author, University of Public Health doctoral student Morgan Taylor told UGA Today.
These codes do not have a universal standard and may vary from facility to facility. For their study, the UGA team surveyed 304 clinical and non-clinical employees at five medical facilities in Georgia for 14 emergency codes at each workplace.
Researchers found that, on average, participants correctly identified their code 44% of the time. The most popular codes were for fire, child abduction, and cardiac arrest (usually code blue).
Respondents said they received little training on the code other than being introduced during orientation. If you do not understand the meaning of each, the response time in an emergency may be delayed.
“The rules are often confusing because we don’t use them regularly or practice them. It is absurd to assume that we hold ,” Kurt Harris, director of the Institute for Disaster Management and principal investigator of the study, told UGA. today. “It is unreasonable to assume that just because the meaning of the color code is on the back of the badge, you will get a proper and rapid response.”
The study points to research suggesting that switching from color coding to plain language can reduce confusion and reduce training. Piedmont Healthcare hospital switched to plain language emergency announcements in 2019.
“We know that communication in plain language reduces panic and confusion among bystanders. Our research continues to require effective training and education to help translate this research into practice.” It highlights the fact that the
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