Leading the Way in Patient Care. UPMC Practitioner Profiles

ABOUT THE PRACTITIONERS

Tami Minnier had the responsibility of caring for other living beings for as long as she can remember. Growing up on a 300-acre dairy farm in northwest Pennsylvania, she milked cows and had her first horse by the time she was five years old.

When she was just two months old, her father suffered a heart attack, adding to the degree of responsibility she felt as a young girl on the farm. “We were told, ‘Your dad might not live long,’ and because of that, I was drawn to medicine and drawn to health care,” Tami said.

These transformative experiences influenced Tami’s career at every stage as she now serves as the Chief Quality Officer for UPMC, responsible for the patient experience of individuals who are receiving care at more than 20 hospitals in the region. Drawing from them has allowed her to put authentic care at the forefront of her leadership style and initiatives, which all center on treating patients as the unique individuals they are.

Her passion for patient safety stemmed from her partnership and friendship with Sorrel King, mother of Josie King, a child who tragically died at Hopkins in 2001 as a result of a medical error. Tami listened to the mother speak at a forum and it revolutionized the way she thought of patient care.

“Sitting in the audience, I was so struck by two things. Josie died the same month my son was born. We were talking about rapid response teams and Sorrel sat there and said, ‘Why can’t I call one of those? I am the mom.’ I listened to her say that and I thought, ‘She is right—why can’t she?’” Tami said.

At the time, Tami returned to UPMCand told her staff, “We need to let families call rapid response teams.”

“They thought I had lost my mind and I needed to go back to where I was. It was such a paradigm shift. I picked up the phone, I called Sorrel King, who didn’t know me from Adam, and said, ‘I was one of the 5,000 people you spoke to and I was wondering if you would like to come to Pittsburgh and talk to me about it because I would like to give it a shot.’ It’s all kind of history from there.”

What evolved from that experience and those conversations is now called Condition H, which means: Condition Help, at UPMC hospitals. It allows caregivers to call for emergency help within the hospital without needing to wait for a clinician to make the decision. Between 500-600 hospitals in the United States have adopted Condition Help since Tami first established it at UPMC hospitals.

“It was one of my first very strong labors of love of empowering patients and families, particularly when you think about little ones and older people – they are the most vulnerable and people need to be able to advocate for themselves.”

Amy Ranier lived in Pittsburgh until the age of 7 before her family moved to the state of Indiana. A second generation communications professional, her father oversaw public relations for Purdue University.

Like Tami, Amy loves and cares for animals, specifically raising horses.  “I have kids who are 7 and 9 and they ride, too. It’s something I have done my whole life and it’s a good outlet,” Amy said.

As Senior Director of Patient Experience for UPMC, Amy leads enterprise-level initiatives to improve patient engagement through effective education and communication, patient satisfaction improvement and shared decision making. Amy’s team facilitates the incorporation of patient and family input into all health care initiatives to drive change and cultural evolution within the organization. By using quantitative and qualitative data to develop strategy, the team works to improve the experience of UPMC’s patients and their families.

Amy is also the Director of The Beckwith Institute, a grant organization whose primary goal is to fund both immediate and long-term changes that significantly improve health care.

What’s Amy’s motivation on a daily basis? Both her colleagues and the patients UPMC serves.

Amy is proud of the work they have been able to accomplish as a team, particularly when it comes to transforming UPMC’s culture. “We are very good at a lot of things, but while kindness, compassion, dignity and respect may have been engrained in individual people, it wasn’t a part of the organization-wide conversation. You can’t focus on patient satisfaction unless you look at employees and see how we treat each other,” Amy said. “It is a work in progress and as much as we have seen an enormous amount of change, I can’t believe how quickly it has happened. But that change takes time. You can have most people on board with you, but it takes time to change a culture.”
“We have the right people at the table,” Amy said.

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