3rd Conversation (3C)™ Frequently Asked Questions

What is 3rd Conversation (3C)?

Right now, patients and clinicians are talking about their respective experiences in separate conversations. The 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 3 hour professionally facilitated event where 12 clinicians and 12 patients explore their respective experiences and "dreamstorm" ways the future could be different if the patient-clinician relationship were to be prioritized and valued in our health system. The experience is designed to boost both clinician and patient wellbeing. They 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 test the potential for 3C to generate deeper and sustained human connection and focused systems change.


We believe that in many ways, the social fabric of healthcare is torn. The threads of human connection stand alone and disconnected now because of the way the US. system is organized and financed. The 3rd Conversation is re-weaving healthy, empathetic human connection in a way that helps people see their common desires and interests in health care.

What’s in it for those who participate 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 and the reason they went into health care in the first place. It 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 not a patient input forum; it's 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 better about their own health care system. 


What is a 3C Innovation Site?

A 3C Innovation site is a primary care practice, clinic, community health center or similar setting that has been selected by the 3rd Conversation National Team.   We focus on primary care mainly, since longitudinal relationships are an important factor in success.

What happens after a Spark event? 

Innovation sites will help co-develop with the 3C National Team what comes after the initial Spark phase. For some, the Spark event is sufficient. For others, they may be looking to create and sustain longer term changes. 


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

No. There is no fee to become a 3C Innovation Site. However, Innovation Sites do provide people with the time and skills necessary to collaborate with us to complete the planning and execution to ensure success of their initiative. But don't worry - we know what we're doing and will guide sites the entire way. 


How long does a full 3C initiative take from initiation to completion?

Generally, sites schedule their Spark events months in advance, but a Spark event can be completed in less than six weeks if the site's schedule permits. Issuing invitations to patients and clinicians is the first step (we coach you through it), and the official date for the Spark event is confirmed once a certain number of invitees have agreed to participate. Overall, the 3C work at a site can range from just a few months to as many as 9 months of structured, collaborative work.


How can my organization become a 3C Innovation Site candidate to considered for inclusion in Phase II?

Contact Laura Adams, Catalyst at X4 Health at ladams@X4health.com.


Can any organization become a 3C Innovation Site?

Unfortunately, there are a limited number of slots available. There is a selection process, as not all interested organizations will be a good fit.  We will conduct an initial assessment with prospective sites, as mutual fit is essential for both of us. 


What is a Spark Event?

A Spark Event, which takes place in the evening, brings local patients and health professionals together, to break bread and discuss:

  • What health care looks like when it works, such as the best experience they ever had with a patient or a provider and why

  • How the health care system would look if the patient-provider relationship was in fact valued and served as the primary design principle

  • 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 in a Spark Event is 12 –15 patients and 12 -15 providers. It’s important to match the number of patient attendees with provider attendees, so that each patient participant can be paired with a provider participant.


How long do Spark Events last?

Spark events last 3 hours. 

Are only physician providers allowed to participate in Spark Events?

Spark events are inter-professional. 

Who funds the 3rd Conversation initiative?

The Morris-Singer Foundation currently funds the 3rd Conversation initiative. There is no fee for participating approved sites. 


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