News | Published October 27, 2010

Code Word Adds Safety to Hospital Patients

Many times a patient at the hospital would like information shared with those closest to them; such as grown children, church friends or other family members. Because of patient privacy and safety concerns, it has been impossible for the Medical Center to provide any more than a one word condition to those who call the Medical Center seeking information about their loved ones.

In addition, many people have the same name, birthday and other pertinent identifying information. This also presents a unique challenge to clinical staff trying to connect the patient with their family and friends. Beginning November 2, family and friends will have greater access to their loved ones through the use of a code word. A “code word” is a special word that patients give their friends or family members allowing them to call the Medical Center and receive pertinent information about their loved one. How it works:

  1. The patient chooses the word; “snowcone,” “grandma,” “football,” etc.
  2. The code word is recorded in the personal health record of the patient.
  3. The patient communicates the code word to their friends and family.
  4. Friends or family can call the nurses’ station, provide the code word and patient name. This gives them access to information about the patient, and the opportunity to talk to the nurse providing care.
  5. Also, the patient can change the code word at any time during their stay or at subsequent stays.
Patient privacy and safety is of utmost concern. The code word allows patients to have control of who receives information about them. It also allows the physician and nursing staff to know that the person inquiring about the care is authorized by the patient to ask questions, receive information and know about their care.

This new system will go live on November 2. Nursing staff will begin to inquire and document code words at that time. Any questions can be directed to Patty Watson, vice president for nursing and chief nursing officer, 814.234.6188.

The Foundation’s 21st Annual Golf Tournament raised $150,000 for the new Cancer Center.

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