Conversation Ready Community

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Session Details

This Collaborative began in February 2014 and ended in October 2014.

To see upcoming programs related to this topic, please visit our Education page.


The Conversation Project started a national conversation – at the kitchen table.

Just over two years ago The Conversation Project, in collaboration with IHI, launched a public campaign dedicated to encouraging people to talk about their wishes for end-of-life care – not in the midst of a health care crisis in the emergency department or intensive care unit, but around the kitchen table with the people they love. Too often, people die in ways they wouldn’t choose. We know that, when surveyed, 70% of Americans indicate that they would prefer to die at home – and yet 70% die in the hospital.


But is the health care system ready to receive, respect, and honor those wishes for every individual, every time?

Many health care organizations have no processes in place to prompt discussions with patients and families about health care directives or end-of-life wishes, or to record, access, and follow the instructions when the time comes. In 2012, IHI and a group of end-of-life experts and concerned health care organizations launched the “Conversation Ready” initiative. Together, this group committed to establishing what it means for a health care organization to be “Conversation Ready,” by developing and piloting processes to create systems that reframe patient-provider relationships around the question, “What matters most to you?,” and, in some instances, break the silence between patient and provider.


IHI launches the Conversation Ready Health Care Community.

After a year of rich and valuable learning, IHI is now organizing a broader Conversation Ready Health Care Community for organizations committed to working with us to develop reliable care processes informed by the following core principles:

  1. Engage with our patients and families to understand what matters most to them at the end of life
  2. Steward this information as reliably as we do allergy information
  3. Partner with our patients to develop appropriate goals of care
  4. Exemplify this work in our own lives so that we understand the benefits and challenges
  5. Connect in a manner that is culturally and individually respectful of each patient


This nine-month initiative will bring together pioneering organizations and expert faculty to move towards becoming Conversation Ready.

  • Pre-work activities in the fall and early winter will help organizations understand their current state, identify the most high-leverage changes, develop measurement systems, and begin asynchronous learning on the Model for Improvement and Conversation Ready
  • The community will kick off in February with two virtual half-day Learning Sessions focused on an introduction to the Conversation Ready Change Package, measurement strategy, and methods for making change in the organization
  • Teams will test changes in their home organizations, with support from IHI and the Conversation Ready Community in the form of a dedicated listserv, online tools, and monthly expert calls
  • Teams will come together in spring (dates TBD) for a face-to-face meeting in Boston to share progress and challenges
  • Teams will have a final half-day session in September to plan for the next phase of work and harvest learning from other teams
  • Throughout the duration of the community, teams will receive continued support with monthly conference calls, a private website with tools and resources, and access to peers and faculty to help remove barriers and accelerate progress


  • Download a two-page flyer about the Conversation Ready Community to share with your team.
  • Review Conversation Ready Community overview slides.