Good news from Pittsburgh. UPMC is reporting results from the first two years of its implementation of Condition H, the patient- and family-activated rapid response team program that is gaining good traction in patient safety circles throughout the country.

From September 2005 to August 2007, there were 42 calls to Condition H. All of the calls were instigated by breakdowns in communication between caregivers and the patient or the patient’s family. As the patient safety movement continues to make great strides and develop new techniques to prevent medical errors, it’s clear that basic communication skills remain key resources for both caregivers and patients.

These and other successes are discussed in detail in the May/June 2008 issue of the Journal of Healthcare Quality.

As a Condition H partner, we at the Josie King Foundation are so proud of their success and hope that their impressive results inspire even more hospitals to implement Condition H. As a healthcare consumer, I’m relieved to know that more and more fellow patients have access to these rapid response teams.

Condition H consistently ranks among the top of the inquiries that we receive. It’s encouraging to hear from so many institutions in varying stages of implementing patient- and family-activated rapid response teams of their own. For those of you who are associated with hospitals that have active programs, consider sharing any successes or lessons from your experience that could help your patient safety colleagues.

If you are in the early stages of planning, or are just considering starting a similar program at your institution, you can find helpful information on our website. Read more about Condition H and find links to support materials developed by UPMC for their program, like educational brochures and evaluation tools. These materials are all available for download, for you to learn from, amend and use at your institution. Big thanks to our friends at UPMC for sharing their good work with the community.

Please send us your questions and share your stories by leaving a comment below or emailing me at

Thanks, and more soon,