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dmi:Design Value Award Winner - Novo Nordisk
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dmi:Design Value Award Winner




Human-Centered Design for the “Age Old” Prescription Problem

Novo Nordisk - Novo Nordisk Device Research & Development


In the United States alone, more than 50% of patients prematurely stop taking a medication they are prescribed within their first year of using it. Each year, the typical non-adherent person has an estimated three additional medical visits due to non-adherence, incurring an additional $2,000 in medical costs. More than $100 billion is spent in the US alone each year to address issues caused by non-adherence, non-compliance, and non-persistence. Approximately 125,000 avoidable deaths occur each year in the U.S. as a result of patients not taking their medication as intended. A person’s failure to take their prescribed medications properly not only negatively impacts their personal health, but also strains the community’s healthcare system.

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company whose purpose is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to medicines, and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk Device Research & Development (DRD) set out to understand how it could help people with chronic illness use their prescribed medications to achieve the intended health impact.

The cross-disciplinary DRD team used a nine-stage design strategy approach to understand and design for the challenges faced by people taking daily medications. The process resulted in twelve end-user validated potential product and service ideas that effectively influenced their future strategic R&D focus. The qualitative and quantitative evidence supporting these ideas can increase investment confidence. The release of these offerings could ultimately impact commercial success as well as drive new opportunities for pharmaceutical companies (not to mention potentially minimize costs for patients and healthcare systems).

New solutions sometimes require new organizational frameworks, so, Novo Nordisk connected with teams across the globe to identify what types of collaborations could make the ideas real. By working with R&D, digital health, branding, patient relations, product teams, and other groups, they created a new model for cross-department collaboration that they continue to use. This cross-disciplinary, generative research process is already being implemented to drive other new product and service development efforts across the organization.

Increasing adherence, compliance and persistence with prescription drugs can significantly improve public health and impact millions of lives. Correctly using prescribed medications helps improve a person’s quality of life while helping society avoid unnecessary health costs. By creating solutions that effortlessly fit into users’ lives, pharmaceutical providers can avoid adding noise and burden to an already complex health situation. 

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