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Patient, Health Plan Member,Resident, and Customer Experience

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Ensure Culturally Appropriate Care, Products, and Services

We are focused on ensuring that our patients, health plan members, residents, and customers have access to quality, culturally appropriate health care, and information that encourages healthy lifestyles.


Cultural Competency Module Completion

2012: 90%

2013: 85.92%

2014: 96.7%

2015: 95.74%

Cultural Competency Index**

2012: 81%

2013 -

2014: 82.8%

2015 -

*See the CFEI Annual Report for more details.
**Conducted every other year

We are preparing our workforce to inclusively address the diverse needs of patients, families, and communities. We are committed to delivering a quality, culturally appropriate health care experience. Being culturally aware enhances our patient, health plan member, resident, and customer experience; allows employees and patients to feel valued and respected; considers the perspectives of others; and reminds us to treat others the way they want to be treated.

Our Cultural Awareness Initiative provides tools and resources that enable our employees to deliver treatment and services that value dignity and respect. The tools and resources respond to the health, beliefs, and practices, and the cultural and linguistic needs of our diverse patients, employees, and health plan members in the communities we serve. This initiative ensures our ability to provide health care for all communities, including people of color, refugees, immigrants, the LGBT community, and people with disabilities (in partnership with the Disabilities Resource Center).

Patient and Health Plan Member Initiatives

The C.H.R.I.S. Model

The C.H.R.I.S. model is designed to help employees visualize the diverse attributes that make up the unique identity of every individual, and serves as a reminder to treat others the way they want to be treated.

It represents UPMC’s

Commitment to cultural competency and
Health literacy for our patients, members and their families while improving
Retention of diverse employees by
Integrating UPMC Values into
System-wide practices.

View the C.H.R.I.S. Model »

UPMC Hotline for Patient Needs

Supported by the Center for Quality, Safety, and Innovation, Patient Experience Communications, and the UPMC Patient Relations, Health Services Division’s Call Center, the hotline enables UPMC employees to call one number for support and services to meet the cultural needs of patients. It ensures a more consistent and effective patient experience offering access to interpreter and translation services, chaplain services, and other services needed for quality patient care.

C.H.R.I.S. Resources and Tools

C.H.R.I.S. tools include recorded webinars and Lunch & Learns, articles, and case studies; a calendar of cultural competency-oriented events; cultural competency road shows; and links to external websites and resources devoted to reducing barriers to culturally competent health care and customer service.


CultureVision® is a web-based tool that discusses the needs of various cultures in the health care setting. Available to employees, and embedded in patient systems, Cerner’s PowerChart® provides just-in-time access to help employees better understand the diverse needs of patients and their families, health plan members, and colleagues.

Safe Zone

The Center for Engagement and Inclusion, in partnership with PERSAD, has launched the Safe Zone initiative to address health disparities. The Safe Zone initiative offers UPMC providers the necessary tools and resources to create an environment that is welcoming and caring for the LGBT community.

The program is implemented in 3 stages:
  1. Pre-assessment
  2. Assessment*
  3. Implementation: Training and resources
Participating hospitals include UPMC Shadyside, Presbyterian, and Mercy.
*The assessment is conducted by PERSAD and includes the following service lines/groups: frontline staff, clinicians, unit directors, clinical directors, and environmental services.

Disability Tools and Training

Disability tools and training are provided by UPMC Disabilities Resource Center (DRC). Established in 2007 to ensure that health care is accessible to people with disabilities, the DRC focuses on the following areas: education and training; facility accessibility; community engagement and policy.

Community Health Partnership Initiative

This initiative is focused on building relationships with diverse community organizations, including Latino, immigrant, refugee, LGBT, and interfaith communities. We collaborate with community leaders to develop programs and resources to serve diverse populations. We aim to be partners in community health care by providing the following services:

  • Monthly health topics translated into various languages
  • Buckle Up for Life car seat program
  • Hospital tours
  • Health screenings
  • Health care technology overviews
  • Translation for health care services

Patient Experience Community Partnership

The focus of this partnership is to proactively engage community members, health and human services providers, and UPMC staff to identify services and programs that best address the diverse needs of communities in the UPMC footprint. This partnership also helps to ensure patients' voices are heard. Among the partnership's goals are:

  • To increase organizational understanding of national best practices in cultural competency, and to meet the needs of the populations we serve.
  • To engage other agencies, organizations, and communities in our region in supporting our efforts to provide equal health care access for all.
  • To focus on LGBT, and interfaith communities, and newcomers to the U.S. Healthcare system.

Interfaith Pocket Guide

The pocket guide provides a brief overview of religious backgrounds and related information, to assist in better understanding and meeting those needs. The guide does not offer theological explanations but basic information about the beliefs and practices of a variety of faith traditions.

Online Portal

With support from the Center for Quality, Safety, and Innovation, Patient Experience Communications, and the Beckwith Institute, the UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion, the Disabilities Resource Center, and the Technology Development Center are collaborating on the development of an online portal that will improve the care experience by inviting patients to proactively share their values, preferences, and needs with their providers. The technology that makes it possible will align electronic health records, web portals, and individual needs to promote more consistent sharing of information, improve treatment plans, and expand our clinicians’ understanding. Community focus groups and internal e-record collaborations will help ensure that the voices of our patients are heard, so that they can receive the right care in the right way at the right time—every time.

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