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Global Pharma Company Applications

Finding valuable service applications for an emerging technology

The challenge

A global pharmaceutical company set itself the challenge to improve the efficacy of drugs, by helping hospital doctors help their patients. The Engine Service Design Team worked with them to leverage technology to improve accessibility and usability of information in the hospital setting in order to achieve this goal.

The outcomes

The company now has a digital product strategy, delivering assistance to hospital doctors and their patients using voice and other technologies, resulting in more useful and usable patient, drug and hospital information. The programme is being used by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office to explore the use of patient data to drive better health outcomes.

Client: Global Pharma Company Duration: 18 months Health

All businesses are services businesses. R&D-driven manufacturers, including pharmaceutical companies, have realised they can differentiate their products and add value by wrapping services around them.

Prototype of software solutions suite

Being led by doctors and not by the technology
Our client recognised in themselves the habit of building a solution before trying to persuade customers they needed it. They asked the Engine Service Design Team to help flip the model and first understand the world of hospital doctors and how they managed the complexities of the health system, whilst working to improve patients’ health.

Co-creating with doctors in an innovation lab
Central to the success of the programme was bringing informal, collaborative approaches from the world of design to the previously formal modes by which the business engaged senior clinicians. We ditched the ‘advisory board’ model and set-up an innovation lab, using online tools to work with 12 doctors in two countries over several months.

Prototyping to extend engagement and excite stakeholders
With our doctors, Engine co-designed and visually prototyped a suite of software solutions enabled by data, information-design and voice-tech, to assist them in the management of patients’ care pathways. We explored the technology landscape widely, worked with technology experts and set-out a product strategy towards our client’s commercial objectives.

Globally, pharmaceutical companies compete to offer their treatments to doctors. Doctors have always valued the expertise of these companies but have viewed the relationship as transactional. The opportunity for the pharmaceutical sector is to build deeper, more valuable relationships with doctors, through services that assist patient treatment, make information accessible and save time.

Client reflections

“Instead of just developing solutions outside and throwing them over [to our customers] we said, ‘let’s do it differently’. Engine has been great in ensuring we engage with our customers in the right way. Engine has been a really strong partner.”

Have a similar challenge? Get in touch with the Engine Team


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Here’s how we do it

Insight to vision

Identify the difference between what you do today and what your future customers don’t yet know they need. Reimagine the future.

Insight to vision

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Unlock new value by imagining, designing and piloting services and experiences your colleagues are inspired to deliver and your customers will love.

Design to pilot

Plan to mobilise

Mobilise your organisation with a plan to change, build or buy what’s needed to deliver new services and experiences.

Plan to mobilise

How we can help


It's working, but not well enough

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Customer Driven Transformation

How design-led companies get more of the right services to market faster

engine book customer driven transformation

“For any who seek to improve their services, let this book be your design-led guide. It will enable you to truly transform your service, by staging engaging, personal, memorable and even beautiful experiences.

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