In 2009, Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, Wyo., instituted a safety program designed to reduce errors causing serious harm to patients.

Prior to the development of the program, hospital administrators studied two years’ worth of data and safety reports and found that the medical center was merely average in terms of patient safety.

To improve safety and reduce serious errors, the medical center held focus groups among staff to discuss safety improvements and created a hotline where physicians could report concerns.

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To decrease the likelihood of errors, nurses began wearing red badges while administering medication to indicate that they should not be disturbed. Protocols were put into place to allow staff to raise concerns and ask questions in a cooperative environment without feeling threatened.

Speaking at the Wyoming Patient Safety Summit in Casper, risk manager Shawna Willcox described the improvements resulting from the program. Over the past three years, the medical center has had a 70% reduction in errors that cause serious harm to patients, and, according to Willcox, the hospital had gone six months without a serious incident.