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3rd Conversation (3C)™ Frequently Asked Questions



About 3rd Conversation

3rd Conversation and COVID

Spark Events

Ignite Events


Results & Evaluation






About 3rd Conversation:


What is 3rd Conversation (3C)?

3rd Conversation brings health care stakeholders together to connect as humans and explore how relationships, empathy, and connection can be sources of power, healing, and fulfillment.


Typically patients, clinicians, and administrators have talked about their respective experiences in separate conversations.  3rd Conversation brings these groups together.

The backbone of 3C is a Spark event, where clinicians and patients connect and talk openly about working in the system and receiving care. The experience helps build empathy and a deep appreciation for one another's core humanity. Participants leave the room feeling enlightened, inspired, motivated, and supported to continue the conversation and to turn that conversation into action.

During COVID, the 3rd Conversation team designed Ignite events where administrators and clinicians come together virtually with a professional facilitator to share experiences, connect as human beings, and imagine a better future together. The goal of Ignite is to strengthen relationships between clinicians and administrators to provide both a more fulfilling working environment and to generate deeper and sustained human connection as a catalyst for health care systems change.



What is the goal of 3rd Conversation?

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 clinicians and patients (or clinicians and health system administrators) 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 all participants to talk together on equal footing about their respective needs. Participants report feeling "seen" and validated, as well as 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 and Ignite events to be conducted over Zoom and shortened the format. Evaluations of the new design have shown the same end results as those of our in-person events. Participants 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 patients, providers, and health system administrators personally and professionally. Spark and Ignite 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. 



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, clinicians, and/or health system administrators 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 24-30 participants. For virtual events, the ideal number is 8-24. For both in-person and virtual events, it’s important to have an equal number of patient and clinician 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.



Ignite Events


What is an Ignite Event?

An Ignite event brings together clinicians and health care system administrators to:

  • Share experiences, connect as human beings, and imagine a better future together

  • Strengthen relationships in order to provide a more fulfilling working environment

  • Generate deeper human connections in service of health care systems change


How many people do you need to hold an Ignite event?

The ideal number of participants of an Ignite virtual event is 10-20, which should be evenly split between clinicians and administrators.


How long do Ignite Events last?

Virtual Ignite events last approximately 3 hours.


Who should participate in Ignite events?

Ignite is designed for clinicians of any type who provide care and health case system administrators. Past participants have reported that the event can help prevent professional burnout and that they left the event inspired to do something different.




Who funds the 3rd Conversation initiative?

The 3rd Conversation  is made possible through support from the Morris-Singer Foundation and is coordinated by X4 Health, a purpose-driven organization dedicated to innovation and human-centered health care. If you are an organization interested in sponsoring additional 3C sites, please contact us



Results and Evaluation:

What results have you seen from 3rd Conversation events?

More than 80% of participants in recent Spark and Ignite events reported that they felt:

  • More hopeful about the impact they could make in the health care system

  • Better understanding of how others have been impacted by COVID

  • Valued

  • Connected

  • Relieved


In addition,

  • More than 7 out of 10 clinicians feel the program could address burnout

  • More than 9 out of 10 patients feel more positive about their medical practice after the program

  • 100% of administrators and clinicians left the event inspired to do something differently in their life or in health care

What have participants said about their experience?

"This has more resonance to me than a patient survey. I wish this is something we could do on a regular basis for our organization so that we can hear from our patients and they can hear from us."  ~Clinician


“To hear the clinician's stories, to hear their courage, it’s such a blessing.” ~ Patient


"This experience has been therapeutic. The job feels so thankless some days, so it was nice to unpack that emotion, and to hear some thank you’s –even if it’s not my patient, the thank you’s still matter and are still therapeutic.” ~ Clinician

Read more on our Stories page



About 3C
Spark Events
Ignite Events
Results and Evaluation
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