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:
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.