Condition Help 

Condition Help is a patient safety hot line that patients and families can call when there is a change in the patient’s condition, and the patient or family is unable to get the attention of a health care provider. When hospital operators receive a Condition Help call, a rapid response team is activated to address the patient concern.
The Condition Help program provides a hot line for hospital patients and their family members to call when there is:
  • An emergency when patients or loved ones can’t get the attention of hospital staff
  • A communications breakdown in how care is given
  • Uncertainty over what needs to be done

Why does UPMC have Condition Help?

UPMC is the forerunner among hospitals in the United States for the use of rapid response teams to address urgent patient concerns. UPMC hospitals began using Condition Help to empower patients and their visitors to help prevent medical errors and breakdowns in communication regarding patient care. In the early 2000s, the leadership at UPMC Shadyside decided that there needed to be a program in place to help prevent the sort of communication breakdowns that resulted in the death of 18-month-old Josie King at a large East Coast hospital.

Josie died as a result of a series of hospital errors and poor communication. Her family established a patient safety foundation in hopes of preventing this from ever happening to another patient.
Condition Help started at UPMC Shadyside, then spread to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and to the rest of UPMC.

What happens after Condition Help is called?

Every Condition Help call brings a rapid response team immediately to the patient’s bedside and includes a follow-up meeting the next day, which serves as a learning experience for the staff. Condition Help is nonpunitive; staff members will not get in trouble if a patient calls a Condition Help. The goal is to use patients and their family members as an integral part of the care team.

​Additional Resources

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA