Using service design to improve patients’ quality of life

Eimear Power | 29th March 2017

This year, Janssen launched Orello, a service for metastatic prostate cancer patients and their loved ones. Blue Latitude Health supported Janssen in their journey to uncover real patient needs to develop the service with the aim of improving the quality of life for men living with prostate cancer.

From initial research through to final execution, developing a patient service like Orello is a truly multidisciplinary process. Each of our internal capabilities was involved in this project, as were a variety of client stakeholders – a wide breadth of expertise and knowledge contributed to the development of the service.

Customer Experience Consultant Eimear Power talks through the process of developing Orello in collaboration with Janssen.

The importance of empathy in service design: uncovering patients’ real needs

Empathy is at the heart of service design, particularly when designing a service for patients. Qualitative research was central to this project. As much as possible, we wanted to look at these patients through an ethnographic lens. We wanted to understand how these men thought about their disease, and how it affected their everyday lives. What were their biggest concerns and worries? What was it like to be a partner to someone with prostate cancer? What were the partners’ needs, and how did those relate to patient needs?

One thing that really made this project stand out was the emphasis on the carer and their needs. The carer was not viewed as secondary to the patient, they were considered equally in the design process.

Many markets experience cost constraints within the healthcare system that mean that emotional related support is reluctantly deprioritised, often with the carer not in the frame at all. Therefore, it is invaluable when pharma can bridge this gap in any small way. The service aimed to do this, and the first step was to understand the support needs.

As with many clients, Janssen already had existing research and we were able to bring it all together to get as rich a picture as possible. It’s not always about starting from scratch. There were also company initiatives already in place, and we ensured that we understood their objectives and challenges; our goal was to complement or integrate with them where possible.

Our team had the privilege of spending time with patients and their families in their homes, which was invaluable in enabling the team to build empathy and a deep understanding of patient and carer needs. The insight gained during this research phase was the cornerstone of generating concepts for the service.

From the research, a picture began to come into focus. Some of the key insights the team drew on when developing concepts:

  • Carers struggled to define the support they may benefit from, but they clearly needed support.
  • Many men didn’t know how or didn’t want to talk about how they felt, and this sometimes led to relationship issues.
  • The emotional impact of adapting to and dealing with the side effects of prostate cancer treatment can lead to feelings of emasculation due to ‘Feminisation’ brought on by treatment, sparking deeper issues for the couple.
  • Practical issues, such as sorting out finances, can loom over couples and be the source of anxiety and worry.
  • Life goes on after a diagnosis of prostate cancer, and where possible, the goal is to live life as normally as possible.

CX artefacts help facilitate commercial conversations

The research we conducted with patients was used to develop patient journeys and personas, this not only allowed the team to understand what the patient was feeling, thinking, and doing at any one phase of their prostate cancer but it was also incredibly useful for facilitating conversations around the commercial objectives of the service.

Unfortunately, you cannot be everything to everyone, so the team needed to identify which patients we could best support, and at what point in the journey we felt it would be of most value. It was decided that the objective of the service would be to support patients and their families who are living with mCRPC by improving their quality of life.

 

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