The Triple Aim Collaborative is patterned on IHI’s Breakthrough Series Collaborative Model. IHI developed the BTS model in 1995, and is a widely accepted model for those seeking breakthrough improvements on complex issues. The model employs the science of improvement, an applied science that emphasizes innovation, rapid-cycle testing in the field, and spread in order to generate learning about what changes, in which contexts, produce improvements. It is characterized by the combination of expert subject knowledge with improvement methods and tools. It is multidisciplinary — drawing on clinical science, systems theory, psychology, statistics, and other fields.
The Triple Aim Collaborative team – made up of expert faculty, Quality Improvement Advisors, and key logistics and support staff – will provide strategic guidance, improvement coaching and support, capability building, and systematic tracking, documentation, and reflection on the teams’ testing. Learning activities will be delivered virtually and in-person. The Triple Aim Collaborative team will:
- Build a learning community in which all partnering colleges and universities are committed to actively testing changes, sharing what does and does not work, tracking their progress, adapting ideas, joining affinity groups to learn from each other on specific topics, and building relationships.
- Bring leading subject matter experts to support teams in the application of systems improvement methods to developing, testing, and implementing their Triple Aim portfolio.
- Provide each partnering college or university with an improvement coach to support ongoing application of state-of-the art tools and methods for improvement.
- Develop an information infrastructure to support data-driven testing and learning from all participating colleges and universities.
- Develop the communication system among partners that supports rapid learning, connections, and relationship building with like-minded colleges and universities.
- Convene a leadership steering committee to provide guidance and support.
- Design and implement a messaging and dissemination plan to publically highlight the learning and successes of partner colleges and universities.
- Use evaluation techniques to continue to advance theories of change.
Using an “all teach, all learn” philosophy, the Triple Aim Collaborative includes activities to onboard and lay the foundation, team coaching, face-to-face meetings, and Web-based meetings where teams learn from expert faculty and each other. These activities are depicted in Figure 1 and described below.
- Onboarding and Laying the Foundation
- Getting Started: Prior to Learning Session 1, partner institutions will gather intelligence on potential priority student populations, project work currently underway, measures and data sources, partners and assets within their campuses, and their institution’s current level of expertise in using improvement methods.
- Building and Enhancing Triple Aim Infrastructure: All partner institutions will begin by completing a series of webinars focused on building the infrastructure to pursue the Triple Aim. Using web-based learning calls, the expert faculty will introduce Triple Aim principles and coach teams through a sequence of key activities. The infrastructure series will yield a specific plan for each site that will be the focus of their work throughout the Collaborative.
- Learning Sessions: Teams will convene for two in-person Learning Sessions per year (four total Learning Sessions). These meetings will provide an opportunity for learning, networking, and refinement of action plans. We strongly encourage the participation of at least four members of your team at all Learning Sessions. Teams will be asked to come to Learning Sessions with a summary of their Triple Aim work to date, usually in the form of a storyboard presentation.
- Intensive Action Periods: During the “action periods” between learning sessions, teams will use rapid cycle testing to advance their individual program plans. They will be expected to report monthly on their activities and measures, and to participate in the webinars described below. Action periods are devoted to testing new changes and to spreading those that have shown success. The intent is for teams to scale from smaller to larger populations as quickly as possible.
- All-Team Calls: One-hour, monthly WebEx sessions will take place with the Collaborative faculty to: explore general Triple Aim design concepts, topics in effective measurement, and examples of execution of system change and facilitate shared learning across the Collaborative.
- Content & Coaching Calls: In addition to all-team calls, there will also be one-hour WebEx sessions with IHI faculty to explore specific Triple Aim content foci in greater depth. Sites will have the opportunity to present their work and receive active coaching and recommendations from faculty and the other sites.
- Leadership calls: Support at a leadership level is critical to the success of any Triple Aim endeavor. To that end, periodic calls will be dedicated to Vice Presidents of Student Affairs, or equivalent position. Discussions will focus on strategic aspects of the Triple Aim, will-building, and governance issues.
- Learning Congress: In March 2021, a virtual harvesting session will be held in which results and learnings are shared and reviewed.
 The Breakthrough Series: IHI’s Collaborative Model for Achieving Breakthrough Improvement. IHI Innovation Series white paper. Boston: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2003.