Empathy and compassion provide an important foundation for effective collaboration in health care. Compassion (the recognition of and response to the distress and suffering of others) should be consistently offered by health care professionals to patients, families, staff, and one another. However, compassion without collaboration may result in uncoordinated care, while collaboration without compassion may result in technically correct but depersonalized care that fails to meet the unique emotional and psychosocial needs of all involved. Providing compassionate, collaborative care (CCC) is critical to achieving the “triple aim” of improving patients’ health and experiences of care while reducing costs. Yet, values and skills related to CCC (or the “Triple C”) are not routinely taught, modeled, and assessed across the continuum of learning and practice. To change this paradigm, an interprofessional group of experts recently recommended approaches and a framework for integrating CCC into health professional education and postgraduate training as well as clinical care.
In this Perspective, the authors describe how the Triple C framework can be integrated and enhance existing competency standards to advance CCC across the learning and practice continuum. They also discuss strategies for partnering with patients and families to improve health professional education and health care design and delivery through quality improvement projects. They emphasize that compassion and collaboration are important sources of professional, patient, and family satisfaction as well as critical aspects of professionalism and person-centered, relationship-based high-quality care.