3rd Conversation (3C)™ Frequently Asked Questions


About 3rd Conversation:


What is 3rd Conversation (3C)?

Typically, patients and clinicians have talked about their respective experiences in separate conversations.  3rd Conversation brings us together to connect and explore how reinventing the patient-clinician relationship can be a source of power, healing, and fulfillment. 3C is designed to bring this new conversation—and the remarkable changes that it brings about—into reality.

The backbone of 3C is a Spark event, a professionally facilitated event that occurs in-person (when safe) or virtually. During Spark events, between 12 and 24 patients and clinicians explore their respective experiences and "dreamstorm" ways the future could be different if the patient-clinician relationship was prioritized and valued in our health system. The experience is designed to boost both clinician and patient wellbeing. Both patients and clinicians leave the room feeling enlightened, inspired, motivated, and supported to continue the conversation and to turn that conversation into action.

There are additional activities pre- and post- Spark event, tailored to each participating site's needs, goals and capacities. These include activities in narrative leadership, online community building, and ongoing work at the site-level to facilitate changes identified in the Spark event. 



What is the goal of 3rd Conversation?

The goal of 3rd Conversation is to generate deeper and sustained human connection as a catalyst for health care systems change.

We believe that in many ways, the social fabric of health care is torn. The threads of human connection stand alone and disconnected because of the way the U.S. health care system is organized and financed. 3rd Conversation is re-weaving healthy, empathetic human connection in ways that help people achieve their shared health care hopes and interests.


What do participants get out of participating in 3rd Conversation?

Many health care entities are struggling to address rising rates of clinician burnout, depression, and suicide. While not a panacea, 3C helps reconnect providers to meaning in their work. 3C offers an opportunity for providers and patients to describe a shared vision of the system they collectively desire, and to take action to bring that future into reality.


3rd Conversation adds a new dimension to efforts to develop a person-centered culture. It complements initiatives such as Patient Advisory Councils but is substantially different. 3C is a forum that allows clinicians and patients together to talk with equal footing about their respective needs. It typically leaves clinicians feeling "seen" and validated by patients. And it leaves patients feeling understood and more positive about the health care system. 




3rd Conversation and COVID:

How has 3C adapted to COVID?

3rd Conversation has gone virtual! We have redesigned the Spark event to be conducted over Zoom and shortened the format. Our tests of the new design are showing the same end-results as those of our in-person events. Patients and clinicians are leaving the event feeling seen, heard, understood, and energized to make the care delivery system more relationship-based.


Why is now a good time to participate in 3C?

Relationships and human connection are a powerful force for healing, health, professional satisfaction, patient experience and clinician wellbeing. Prioritizing relationships in health care during and in the recovery period from the COVID crisis can help sustain both patients and providers personally and professionally. Spark events provide an opportunity for people to reconnect during a time of physical distancing and social isolation, and can examine how participants can leverage this time of rapid learning and change to elevate the importance of relationships within the health care system. 



Becoming a 3C Innovation Site:

What is a 3C Innovation Site?

A 3C Innovation Site is a practice, clinic, community health center or similar setting that has been selected by the 3rd Conversation National Team as a collaborative partner.  Many innovation sites are focused on primary care, but any  setting  with longitudinal patient/provider relationships could potentially participate.



Is there a fee to become a 3C Innovation Site?

No, there is no fee to become a 3C Innovation Site. However, Innovation Sites must commit to investing time and energy  into collaborating with the 3C National Team on events and activities. The 3C team guides Innovation Sites throughout the process and strives to be efficient. 



How long does a full 3C initiative take?

Generally, Innovation Sites begin planning and schedule their Spark events months in advance, but a Spark event can be completed in less than six weeks if the Innovation Site's schedule permits. Overall, the 3C work at a site ranges from two to nine months of structured, collaborative work.


How can my organization become a 3C Innovation Site?

We encourage all interested parties to join our waiting listWe will conduct an initial assessment of prospective Innovation Sites to determine mutual fit. 




Spark Events:


What is a Spark Event?

A Spark Event brings local patients and health professionals together to discuss:

  • What health care looks like when it works

  • How the health care system would look if the patient-provider relationship was valued

  • What needs to happen for that vision to become reality

  • What patients and clinicians can do together – next week, next month and next year – to achieve that reality

How many people do you need to hold a Spark Event?

The ideal number of participants for an in-person Spark Event is 10-12 patients and 10-12 providers. For virtual events, the ideal number is 6 patients and 6 providers. For both in-person and virtual events, it’s important to have an equal number of patient and provider participants.


How long do Spark Events last?

In-person Spark events are approximately 3.5 hours, and include a meal. Virtual Spark events are approximately 2.5 hours. 

Are only physician providers allowed to participate in Spark Events?

No, Spark events are inter-professional. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other clinicians who provide care are encouraged to participate.




Who funds the 3rd Conversation initiative?

The Morris-Singer Foundation is the primary funder of the 3rd Conversation initiative. Their support allows approved Innovation Sites to participate without fees. If you are an organization interested in sponsoring Innovation Sites, please contact us



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