EyeForPharma, Philadelphia – Laura Barry, Senior Director Customer Insights, Analytics and Experiences at Abbvie believes emotional connections can be made in the digital space.

She started out with a powerful idea:

In our industry, that can be a prescription for medicine + hope.

Our role is providing the medicines, support and experiences that fuel that hope and earn the patient’s commitment to every day treatment and care.

Barry works in the cystic fibrosis space. The life expectancy of someone living with CF has doubled in the last 30 years. In the 1950s, people lived to grade school age. Today, they live into their 20s, 30s and 40s.

Barry introduced us to one of the patients who is their true north: a young woman in her 20s who has been in the hospital 75 or 100 times; uses treatments 2 – 3 hours / day; and loves music, her brother and a big gray dog. She’s healthy and sick and facing an incredibly unique challenge among her peers.

The team at Abbvie thinks a lot about how to motivate teenagers and young people. To do that, they need to understand their real experiences – not just their disease.

As a data lead, Barry wanted to change the data people were looking at:

  • From healthcare transaction models (like patient flow, leakage model, waterfalls)
  • To holistic patient journeys anchored in real life human experience

The transaction models were very precise but couldn’t answer basic questions about why – why is that behavior is happening, why is that change happening, etc.

They used customer-centric research techniques, like live chat, surveys, diaries, video chat, etc. Then, they got the entire integrated brand team (including legal and regulatory) involved in ethnography.