MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Next time you’re at a Mon Health System hospital, you might hear emergencies being announced in regular speech instead of through code words.

Mon Health Systems announced in a press release that it will be moving away from using Emergency Codes starting Dec. 1. Currently, Mon Health utilizes “code” terminology to convey events, emergencies, and communicate to response teams that help is needed.

Instead of using codes to communicate throughout the hospital, Mon Health will begin using Plain Language Alerts in overhead pages at each Mon Health facility. Plain language states what the event actually is in common terms and everyday language. An example of this would be saying “Hazardous Spill” instead of “Code Orange”.

Mon Health is among the first health systems in West Virginia to move to plain language.

“A Mon Health System collaborative of representatives at each hospital met to evaluate best practice and develop standardized terminology,” said Maxine Cantis, Risk Manager for Mon Health System. “Moving to plain language will increase situational awareness of events and reduce delays which in turn, will provide a better experience for our patients, visitors, and employees.”

More hospitals across the United States have moved to plain language alerts for ease of communication and understanding with the support of several state hospital associations, federal agencies and national associations.

The intent of using plain language alerts is to:

  • Promote the safety of patients, visitors, physicians, and hospital staff
  • Reduce errors
  • Increase transparency of communications and safety protocols
  • Align with national safety recommendations
  • Reduce confusion for staff or physicians who work in more than one facility with different codes

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