Reconnecting with patients
How we made a suite of patient leaflets human again
Novo Nordisk, the world’s largest provider of insulin, is focussed on defeating diabetes and other serious chronic diseases by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to medicines and working to prevent, and ultimately cure, the diseases it treats.
To continue to provide patients with accurate and relevant information — information that has a huge bearing on their lives — we helped Novo Nordisk overhaul its non-drug related patient support materials, creating something in its place that speaks to readers in their own language.
Using our tried and tested insight-led approach, we researched and covered topics such as mental health, going back to school, and Ramadan, each time writing and designing a piece that really resonates with both its audience and the health care professionals (HCPs) that use it.
At the start of 2020, Novo Nordisk concluded that its diabetes patient support materials were dated and in need of a refresh. The colour palette and general design felt very ‘medical’; blue and white featured heavily and the information given was dense and difficult to read.
At every stage of someone’s diabetes journey, there are important things they need to know regarding medication, diet and lifestyle — Novo Nordisk was concerned that its existing leaflets were not relaying this information effectively and worried that patients will suffer in the long run.
How we’ve helped
- Designed a suite of patient support leaflets that improved patient engagement
- Conducted interviews with patients and HCPs to gain insights
- Enhanced Novo Nordisk’s reputation among HCPs
- Reviewed existing patient materials
- Helped to develop new corporate visual identity
- Produced clear and concise guidance, written in the patients’ language
- Optimised materials for print
In total, Point 6 produced seven new leaflets; some were created from scratch where others were new iterations of existing pieces. But before any work started on the new leaflets, it was important for us to understand where the current leaflets weren’t succeeding. We reviewed each piece, took notes, and collated our findings. Immediately, we saw that the leaflets contained a lot of information and had a sense that this might be overwhelming for patients.
We had a strong feeling of the direction we needed to go in recreating these leaflets, but we’re not an agency that relies on its hunches. That’s why the second phase of the project was dedicated to research. We spoke to numerous patients with both type-1 and type-2 diabetes, of various ages, to learn first-hand about their daily routines and what they’d like to read in a piece of patient literature.
We also got in touch with a range of medical professionals to gather their thoughts and form an even greater understanding of some of their pain points. These interviews both confirmed our original ideas and gave us many valuable insights into the world of diabetes. Armed with this information, we presented our proposals to Novo Nordisk, created content plans for each leaflet, and — once approved — got to work on rewriting and redesigning a suite of appropriate and effective patient materials.
Our copywriters took great care to relay important information in a far more conversational and digestible way. Patients want to be spoken to in their own language, so that’s what we emulated. We also structured the information in a far more natural way, removing anything we deemed superfluous and ensuring patients weren’t overwhelmed. Breaking down medical and lifestyle advice into ‘Things to do now’ and ‘Things to do later’ helped people with diabetes to see clearly what they needed to do when, following a recent diagnosis, they were potentially confused and distracted.
Our design team helped to shape and structure the information too, by experimenting with various layouts and reducing the amount of content on each page. We used a combination of strong human imagery to mirror the reader and playful line illustrations to help tell the story. Mid-way through the project, Novo Nordisk introducing new brand guidelines which we helped to develop and apply, meaning our leaflets were one of the first key rollouts of patient materials with Novo Nordisk’s new corporate visual identity.
Looking back at the project, we are delighted with the leaflets we produced, and particularly proud of the way we relayed important information that makes a huge difference in people’s lives.
Despite effectiveness among patients being difficult to measure, the feedback from Novo Nordisk was overwhelmingly positive. People from several departments within the company appreciated the clear layouts of the leaflets and praised the language that we used, with one employee remarking that she’d “never seen anything like it” — in a good way, of course!
Overall, the project was extremely rewarding. At Point 6, we want to do work that improves people’s lives, and we’re confident that we ticked that box.