Defining the Problem

The uncontrolled moderate to severe asthma patient has a unique journey with asthma that is much more unpredictable, exhausting and ultimately hopeless. It is necessary to re-energize these patients and their HCPs to help them more effectively control their asthma. My team was asked to synthesize existing research and identify clear, actionable patients insights that can inform opportunities for a new drug and connect with asthma patients and HCPs in differentiated ways through messaging and treatment experiences. The final deliverable needed to tell the story of sever asthma sufferer in their own shoes and include a unifying framework that will help guide teams in identifying and prioritizing the opportunities with the most potential for success.

Finding the Design Solution

My task was to design a patient journey, in a book format, that tells the insights story in a compelling way and grounds the reader - primarily, the pharma client - in the patient mindset. After immersing myself in the research and interviews of severe asthma sufferers, one quote stood out to me the most “when I have an asthma attack, my world goes to black and white.” This had such a profound effect on me that I felt the most emotionally impactful way to tell the story of severe asthma patient would be in a graphic novel format. We used real stories from patients we spoke to and the team created our hero, “Whitney”.  The story starts the moment Whitney has to give away her dog for good and her sadness is visually represented in muted colors. During a horrific near death experience, all color is stripped and we view the story in black and white. Finally, when Whitney starts using a very promising new biologic drug treatment, the story explodes in vibrant colors.

Whitney’s life is a series of missed events due to her severe asthma. From not being able to take her kids to the amusement park to missing out on her reunion, her life and emotions are represented visually in a muted color palette.

At her sister’s wedding, Whitney misplaces her inhaler. Not wanting to let her sister down, she hits the dance floor hard knowing there are serious consequences to her actions. She has a near death experience and passes out on the dance floor. She wakes up in the ER. Our illustrator took cues from comic books and made this moment so dramatic and terrifying! The design goal is to truly put readers in the severe asthma sufferer’s shoes.

Whitney dreams of her new life, thanks to a new prescription biologic drug. She sees these opportunities in vivid color. There is hope, after all!

The back cover folds out to show where insights, opportunity areas and different phases of treatment fall along the patient journey. These opportunity areas are key moments for activating innovation and as shown, these moments fall across the entire journey.