Condition Help (Condition H)


University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)

Program Leaders

Systemwide Executive Leadership
Quality & Operational Excellence Leadership
Hospital Executive Leadership

How the Program Came to Be

According to Tami Minnier, Senior Vice President, Health Services Division Chief Quality & Operational Excellence Officer, UPMC, “Listening to Sorrel King tell her tragic story left a lasting impression with me. ‘If I would have been able to call a rapid response team, I believe Josie would be here today,’ says Sorrel King. Providing the highest quality care for patients and their families is UPMC’s history. I knew that we had to bring a family lifeline to our patients.”

Program Description

The UPMC Condition H model was created to address the needs of the patient and family in case of an emergency or when the patient is unable to get the attention of a healthcare provider. The program provides our patients and families an avenue to call for immediate help when:

  • There is an emergency, and you cannot get the attention of the hospital staff. 
  • There is a change in the patient’s condition and the health care team is not recognizing the concern. 
  • There is a communication breakdown in how care is given or uncertainty over what needs to be done.

When Condition H is called, a response team is activated to address the concern.

Who may be on the Team

  • Administrator on Duty
  • Unit Director/Clinician/Charge Nurse
  • Nursing staff assigned to patient
  • Hospitalist
  • Patient Relations Representative

Goals for the Program

The program has been designed to be a safety net for patients as UPMC strives to make hospitals safer. In many cases, it is the family who knows the patient better than we do. It empowers patients and their families to help prevent medical errors and breakdowns in communication regarding patient care.

Our trained response team will arrive within minutes to stabilize the situation and work to meet patient and family needs. We believe in partnering in care delivery with the patients and families we care for; Condition H is for our patients.

How It is Implemented

Patient education is provided to patients at the time of hospital admission. Condition H educational information is provided to patients with instructions on how to call the Condition H line if necessary.

To call the Condition H line, patients and families are provided with the contact number for the specific location they are in. The trained hospital operator receives the call and facilitates the dispatch of the response team. Within minutes, the team arrives at the patient’s bedside to address the problem.

Why It Makes Sense

The implementation of a rapid response team that can be called by patients and families is beneficial to overall quality and safe care. Condition H can save lives and on patient and family interviews, we have found they feel it is the right thing to do. Patients and families reported that knowing that UPMC has Condition H makes them more confident in their loved one’s care and safety.

What People are Saying

UPMC is proud of this program and knows it is the right thing to do. Condition H can further support healthcare providers when challenging situations occur. Overall, feedback has been positive and well-received by patients, families, and staff.

Who Else is Implementing

The UPMC healthcare system is made up of over 35 hospitals throughout Pennsylvania, New York and Marland. The entirety of the UPMC system has implemented local Condition H programs. 

Due to the success of Condition H at UPMC, healthcare systems all over the country are beginning to implement patient- and family-activated rapid response teams.

How Other Hospitals Can Implement

  • Gain support from hospital leadership.
  • Build the response team.
  • Start small: one patient or one nursing unit.
  • Learn from the pilot and then expand to other units.
  • Show staff The Josie King Story DVD.
  • Talk one on one with staff and patients.
  • Involve patients and front-line staff in building the program.
  • Train all staff on the program.
  • Educate all patients on admission.
  • Collect data and meet monthly to learn from calls received.

How the Josie King Foundation Contributes

The Josie King Foundation funded some of the initial needs of UPMC’s Condition H program including educational brochure and the production of a video detailing Condition H.

For More Information