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This repository contains the code and redacted data for the manuscript, Breaking the Code: Considerations for Effectively Disseminating Mass Notifications in Healthcare Settings.


Many healthcare facilities use code-based alert systems to notify staff of ongoing emer-gencies via public announcement systems. This study sought to assess the ability of clinical and non-clinical employees across the State of Georgia to correctly identify their facility’s emergency codes, assess employee’s opinions of emergency alert systems, and identify significant predictors of emer-gency code identification accuracy. Anonymous electronic surveys asked 304 employees at five fa-cilities to identify the code for 14 different emergencies. Participants correctly identified the emer-gency codes with 44.37% accuracy on average. The codes for fire, infant abduction, and cardiac ar-rest were most commonly identified correctly. Code identification accuracy was significantly asso-ciated with training at orientation, knowledge of emergency code activation procedures, facility ex-perience, and total number of facilities in career. Most survey participants favored a code-based alert system over a plain language-based alert system, citing concerns of causing panic in patients and visitors and of maintaining confidentiality and discretion. The low code identification accuracy suggests healthcare employees may have limited awareness of ongoing emergencies. Transitioning to plain language overhead emergency alerts will better position employees, as well as patients and visitors, to effectively respond to emergencies and disasters occurring within a healthcare facility.

Repository Structure

  • All data are in the subfolders inside the data folder
  • All code is in the subfolders inside the code folder
  • All results (figures, tables, computed values) are in the results folder
  • See the various files in those folders for additional information


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