Quality & Patient Safety Recipient:

Tricia Casler, RN, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, TX

Getting patients to take medication properly during a hospital stay can be difficult — after discharge, it can be almost impossible. This isn’t because the patients don’t want to comply, but rather because they can get lost in a sea of directions, timelines, contra-indicators and other prescription complexities.

Enter the Mug Shot, a sticker that goes on a patient’s water bottle and uses simple language to outline the purpose and possible side effects of each medication. Since creating the program and rolling it out at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, staff reports a solid increase in compliance and HCAHPS scores also have increased, says Tricia Casler, director of Med-Surg.

“We had been struggling to find a way to review the side effects of new medications for patients, and working with the nurses who have to go through those and teach the patients,” Casler says. “They work really hard, but they could tell that often the patients were just not connecting with the information that was being relayed to them. When you’re anxious and sick, it’s really hard to absorb a lot of complicated medical information. Our CNO, Sally Gillam, was watching futurist Dr. Michio Kaku explain wormholes and asked, ‘If he can explain wormholes, why can we not explain an aspirin?’ She starting thinking about how to link the action of taking medications with the needed side effects teaching.”

The Mug Shots are placed on the patient’s water container, so that he or she sees them every time a dosage is taken. If medication changes, a new sticker goes on top of the old one, or adjacent to it, so all the information is still in one place. Patients and families are very pleased with the program, and Casler and her team have also captured data and statistics showing a higher degree of information retention as well.

The stickers now are being produced in Spanish, and could easily be printed in other languages. That will help HCA facilities with high volumes of non-English speaking patients and families, giving the program even more value.

“When a nurse goes to give and teach about a new medication, a prompt will pop up to remind them to take the sticker,” Casler says. “Then when a patient has a question, or a side effect, they can talk to the nurse but also have a reminder right there in their field of vision. It’s doing a wonderful job of really making our medication education process much more successful.”