Every year, millions of euros are lost in the healthcare sector through patient non-compliance and lack of adherence to prescribed medications, resulting in unused medication being thrown away. This in turn creates inefficiency in our healthcare system with patients visiting doctors more often than they should, taking longer to get better and presenting a risk to their lives and wellbeing.
With many high-tech medications moving to outcomes based reimbursement, there is now a significant motivation for pharmaceutical companies to invest in patient engagement and medication adherence programs.
How can we help people with long-term illnesses and complex medication regimens to self-manage their condition and medication?
Our task was to create a mobile app design, as part of the Affinial ecosystem for S3 Connected Health, that supports patients taking multiple drugs, including high cost biologics to adhere to their medication schedules.
Affinial is a personalised medication adherence program designed to support patients and improve healthcare outcomes. Affinial provides a tailored experience to each individual, which is led by evidence-based behavior-change models and predictive analytics, enabling patients to self-manage complex and multiple medication regimes.
Our approach was to understand the complete patient journey. Design Partners conducted interviews with patients on long term medicine regimens and ran discovery workshops with the S3 Connected Health development team to help understand how the Affinial ecosystem could support the patient in various ways.
Armed with a clear understanding of the patient needs we rapidly built wireframe designs of the app, created basic prototypes, and tested them continuously, to rapidly inform the designs for development. Once the optimal user flows were created, we built the design assets for full development of the product, which was tested on a sample of 20 patients across a 30 days period using vitamin D supplement as the trial medication.
With important learnings from user feedback trials, the patient flow was re-engineered to create a product that best supported the patient needs by simplifying the focus to tasks and providing rewards for continuous completion and adherence.
To support the patients, we designed the app using habit-forming and gamification techniques throughout the user experience. Patients are periodically rewarded for being adherent through encouragement, animations, and badges to collect. Gentle reminders are sent to patients should they miss a dose and further interventions are sent if they begin slipping off schedule.
A key part of the design was to facilitate a stronger relationship between the patient and the clinician and the set-up flow of the app helps to create and maintain that bond.
Curated articles relating to the patient’s condition are sent via in-app messages creating a tailored and personal service for the patient. Users are encouraged to like the most helpful articles, so the intelligent system can learn their preferences over time to keep them encouraged and engaged. The system also gives the clinician or caregiver a clear oversight on a patient’s progress and adherence to the prescribed medication regimen.
The app is designed to empower the patient to self-manage their medication schedule, by understanding more about their condition, and learning how best to manage it themselves. Through analysis of the data entered by the patient, the system identifies and learns the factors that cause the user to miss medication doses (e.g. side effects) and the App will then provide automated interventions, specific to the patient and their condition. These interventions help the patient to better manage their routine by providing the right information, in the right way, at the right time.