Transitions Are Like Comic Books

Earlier this week I received a Tweet from a physical therapist named Matt Mastenbrook (@mjmaste). I want to thank Ann Wendel (@PranaPT) for finding the tweet for me and reconnecting me to Matt to give him credit for the inspiration for this post.

His question was in reference to the 4T’s of patient experience. He asked me if I could give an example of a best practice for Transitions.

My response to him, in 140 characters or less, was a program I had developed where we went from symptom management of thinking a patient has cancer to being able to deliver treatment options in 72 hours or less.

While this is great if you live in the oncology world, it doesn’t really have any stickiness to the rest of healthcare.

So it made me think… can I better explain or demonstrate the importance of Transitions to the patient experience in healthcare?


That is the best example.

Almost anyone around the world has an understanding of comics, comic books, and the Sunday funnies.

You can see my own version of a healthcare comic above in my very own illustration. (apologies for my creative nuance)

The great thing about comics is not what happens inside each panel. What draws people to comics is our ability to imagine, draw our own conclusions, and create our own narrative of what happens in the space between each panel, the transitions.

While this is wonderful for comics, this is not an ideal experience in healthcare.

Those moments of white space (transitions), in between each contact, touch point, appointment, scan, or information sharing are also filled with imagination.

Unfortunately in healthcare, that imagination usually brings a narrative filled with fear, anxiety, sadness, turmoil, and stress.

The transitions are where the real opportunities for innovation and improving the patient experience occur. How do you enable information to flow seamlessly between each appointment? How do you ensure that a patient can have their answers addressed now versus in 3 months at their next appointment? How do you provide the reassurance that they will feel better, or are taking medication correctly, or are just fatigued due to the physical therapy?

Whether we leverage people, process, technology or a combination of all three, our biggest opportunity to improve the patient experience is during the transitions.

Meet the needs and enable the wants.

Patients need information and answers and they want to be able to take the right actions to be healthy.

Thank you to Gene Shirokobrod (@therapyinsiders) for helping me try to find Mike who inspired this post.

As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek

If you want to create some connections, join the tribe at and lets #GSD



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