Pennsylvania Hospitals Work To Ensure Correct Use of Color-Coded Wristbands
MedSun: Newsletter #7, September 2006

After a patient almost died in a Pennsylvania hospital because of confusion about the meaning of the colored wristband that had been put on the patient’s arm, the State Patient Safety Authority (PSA) took steps to alert the health care industry to the dangers of such confusion. Now hospitals in northeastern and central Pennsylvania are working together to develop standards for the use of color-coded patient wristbands in their facilities. A group of hospitals and other health care organizations 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.

A new PSA Patient Safety Advisory provides information on the Task Force and on the Color-
Coded Wristband Toolkit the group has created to help providers and facility managers implement changes in their own institutions. The Toolkit includes: (1) an implementation and policy manual developed by the Task Force; (2) a brochure for provider and patient education; (3) presentations that can be used for educating staff and community members; (4) relevant Advisories from the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System; and (5) a related video from the Food and Drug Administration’s Patient Safety News that highlights the issue of wristband use.

Additional Information:

The new Advisory and the Wristband Toolkit are both available at the PSA Web site

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