Case Study

Global Pharmaceuticals Company

Pharmaceuticals + Medical Devices

Exploring a new way to connect with patients.


No matter how revolutionary a treatment may be, a therapy is only effective if it is taken as prescribed.  Reminding patients to take their treatments, particularly in cases where a condition is “invisible” to patients, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, can be a challenge.  In order to augment compliance on a therapy for an “invisible” condition, a global pharmaceutical company was interested in learning if a therapy-based smartphone app would be an effective means of functioning as a touchpoint for the medication–engaging with patients to educate them about their condition, providing valuable background knowledge and, ultimately, ensuring they remember to receive their therapy as scheduled.  Would engaging patients using an app influence compliance?


Given the collaborative nature of the project, and the interaction we wanted participants to have with both the app and each other, we conducted in-person focus groups among patients diagnosed with the condition who also had extensive smartphone experience.  Patients were provided with smartphones pre-loaded with the app to ensure an identical experience for all.  The contents of each individual screen were broadcast together onto a large monitor so in-person client attendees were able to closely observe patients’ interactions with the apps.  Additionally, we set up individual cameras broadcasting patients’ nonverbal reactions to app content so clients would be able to associate nonverbal reactions with specific modules in the app.


Not only were patients extremely interested in using the app, but we also received unexpected feedback.  Patients thought of the app as a companion along their disease and therapy journey.

Testing unearthed an additional unexpected consequence–patients were so eager and interested in the app content that they planned on using and interacting with the app more than the company had originally anticipated.

Consequently, launch of the app was paused to generate additional content based on patients’ ideas and requests, but is poised to be an integral part of the therapy experience and serve as another mechanism to help compliance once finalized.