Program Overview

The Serious Illness Care Program (S.I.C.P.) collaborates with clinicians so that they feel comfortable communicating with patients and families about their values, goals, and preferences regarding future medical care. Clinician participation in advance care planning (ACP) enhances patient understanding of their illness and prognosis, encourages informed patient participation in their healthcare decisions, and alleviates decision-making burdens on loved ones.

S.I.C.P. aims to standardize the language and improve the process for conducting ACP conversations across Stanford Medicine through:


Ariadne Labs developed and extensively studied all aspects of this program, including the implementation process. Research shows that clinicians using the above three components have more frequent, higher quality and more timely ACP conversations with seriously ill patients. Clinician-patient communication about the patient's values and goals has been linked to an improved quality of life, more goal-consistent care, more and earlier hospice care, and fewer hospitalizations. These conversations can also lead to improvements in the patient's mental health as well as that of their loved ones.


Bernacki, Rachelle, et al. “Effect of the Serious Illness Care Program in Outpatient Oncology: A Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA Internal Medicine, vol. 179, no. 6, June 2019, pp. 751–59. Silverchair,