Red Zone: Applying User Experience Design to Develop Effective Patient Suport

Contributed by:

Kate Perry, MSc, PsychD, Director, Behavioral Science, Atlantis Healthcare

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Treatment nonadherence is a complex behavior that requires much more than a simple one-size-fits-all approach to address the challenge. What can pharma learn from the behavioral sciences to deliver patient support that is effective in improving tx adherence?

Health psychology and behavioral economics provide us with theories and insights to develop effective patient support programs (PSPs) to optimize treatment adherence. The field of User Experience (UX) design provides another critical area to consider, especially with programs that have a digital component.

UX design is a term that describes a wide field of work, and has been variously defined. When applied to patient support, UX design is focused on how an individual experiences a digital PSP, usually a website or mobile app.

Why is UX design important?

How an individual experiences a website or app includes how the PSP is used, how it is valued and perceived by the individual, and how the interaction makes the individual feel. Robust UX design should ask the following questions:

Content: is the content perceived as relevant, useful and credible?

Form/function: is the design intuitive and usable? Can the content be easily accessed, even for individuals with limited abilities?

Time: does the program support the individual over the patient journey as their needs vary?

Any good UX designer will tell you that to effectively design a website or app for an individual user, you must first understand the user. In my experience, the best UX design draws on robust theory to develop digital programs that are experienced as both relevant and usable to the individual patient. Specifically, good UX design leverages:

Health psychology to help build PSP content, by understanding why or why not individuals engage in behavior change, and how to apply strategies to support behavior change.

Behavioral economics to structure content and help make it accessible to patients by understanding the common errors individuals make in decision making, and how to mitigate these.

Pharma would be remiss if they failed to apply these learnings from the behavioral sciences to guide the development of PSPs that are personalized to individual patient need and pleasing to engage with.

Learn more about our use of UX design in patient support programs at @AtlantisHlthUS

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