COLUMBIA, SC – Due to lagging patient satisfaction scores and frequent complaints, County Hospital administrators are fitting every patient with a mood ring so staff can track patient satisfaction throughout the treatment process at any given moment. “We have received a lot of backlash from staff regarding their role with patient satisfaction,” reported Melissa Williamson, Chief Administrator. “Since satisfaction is the most important aspect of healthcare, this method holds their feet to the fire a little more. After all, providers and nurses interact with patients the most.”
All patients are given a mood ring in ER triage. Nurses are required to chart ring size, finger placed, baseline mood reading, and then chart the fact that they charted about the mood ring. During longer wait times, hospital volunteers walk around the waiting room passing out turkey sandwiches and controlling the flow of the Ativan diffuser.
As a result, mood rings glow with bright green and blue hues until the provider enters the room. At that point, providers’ bedside manner, small talk, and compliance with patient requests dictates ring color. Even attending physicians have been seen getting warm blankets, graham crackers, Sierra Mist, and even Starbucks coffee from the gift shop in order to keep the ring color from changing.
Monica Hobbes, an NP student wasn’t so lucky. “I had a patient with chronic low back pain who was out of MS Contin 30’s. He wanted a 90-day refill. I told him we do not refill narcotic pain medication in the ER. His ring went from green to yellow. I got nervous, began to sweat and felt palpitations. I really need to do well on this clinical and get a good grade! I could not let him ruin it, so I offered him Tramadol. It turned orange. I got desperate and offered Tylenol #3. The ring turned red, then black. I didn’t know what to do so I just ran out of the room sobbing.”
Administrators proudly posted signs in bathrooms and nurses stations encouraging staff on the new initiative. “If its green or blue, then good for you!” reads one poster. Below it warns: “Yellow is worse, and red is dire. If you don’t reverse, then you we’ll fire.”
Patients enthusiastically welcome the change. “I used to really have to try hard to get noticed when I come here, but now I just extend my middle finger with the mood ring to the staff and they wait on me hand and foot. I got IV fast push Dilaudid, a meal from the grill, and shoulder massage for my pain on my last visit.”
Since the change, Press-Ganey scores have been soaring, ER volume has increased, and the department is full of many new faces.