Gold Foundation Launches Triple C Initiative to Promote Compassionate, Collaborative Care

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation has launched a new initiative Compassionate, Collaborative Care (the Triple C) to promote the intersection of compassion and collaboration to achieve the goal of person-centered care and optimal outcomes for patients, families and providers.


The Triple C model is built on an inclusive system where everyone who has contact with the patient (from the doctor’s office receptionist to the parking lot attendant to a hospital administrator) is a member of the team and can affect the healthcare experience for patients and their families. Central to the Triple C model is that the patient and family members have equal footing with the provider and the rest of the healthcare team. Therefore, Triple C requires a shift from a traditional, hierarchical model based on power and control to an equal partnership with healthcare professionals, patients, and families. Patients and healthcare professionals alike bring their own expertise, experience of illness, and personal preferences to the healthcare interaction, all of which should be valued and considered.

The initiative emerged out of The Triple C Framework, which was co-developed by the Gold Foundation and the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, in collaboration with an Advisory Group comprised of health professions educators, providers, licensure and accreditation agency representatives, and patient advocates.

The framework describes 14 attributes that should be taught and assessed in health professional training and practiced in care delivery and team interactions. These attributes not only represent skills providers need to deliver compassionate, collaborative care to patients, but also toward each other.

“The Triple C skills of active listening, sharing information and decision-making, valuing individuals, fostering resilience, and self-reflection, among others, should be integrated into existing competencies for health professional education,” said Sharrie McIntosh, Chief Program Officer and Senior Vice President at the Gold Foundation. “They are not add-ons, but instead are essential competencies for delivering empathetic, scientifically excellent, patient-centered care.”

A paper recently published in Academic Medicine describes two key aspects of the Triple C, namely, integrating compassion and collaboration into competency training for health professionals and actively partnering with patients and their families in healthcare education and delivery.

According to Dr. Richard Levin, President and CEO of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, “Integrating the skills of the Triple C into the curriculum is vitally important to achieving the Triple Aim of healthcare.” The Triple Aim is to improve care, improve health and lower costs. Compassionate, collaborative care is also essential to the “fourth aim”, improving the work life for healthcare professionals. “The Triple C is not often taught and it is an absence which is clearly a large part of the problem of burnout in trainees and clinicians,” said Levin.

To further support the Triple C initiative, there will be an inter-professional continuing education course, Compassion in Practice: Achieving Better Outcomes by Maximizing Communication, Relationships and Resilience, offered by Harvard Medical School in October (details forthcoming).