Drug safety information is very important for patients, as it communicates to them the benefits and risks of a drug. It’s also one of the most common patient communications produced by any pharmaceutical company.
Traditionally, drug safety information is developed with a relatively fixed, text-only template. Our goal was to use the UPL to redesign how we communicate certain drug safety information, in order to make it more inviting for patients to read and potentially easier to understand. We would also have to do this while working within the guidance set by the FDA. We started with safety information for a specific drug, with the goal of using the output as a starting point for redesigning the safety information of other products.
We heard from patients and listened to the questions they
were looking to answer.
Apply the UPL
To design a UPL version of drug safety information, we held a co-creation session with patients, representatives from patient advocacy groups, and different experts in health communications. Over the course of the workshop, we went through drug safety information section by section. Experts made suggestions based on their fields of knowledge; patients made suggestions based on their lived experience with the illness; Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) employees made suggestions based on their knowledge of FDA guidance. By the end of the session, we had three different prototypes for how we could apply the UPL to how we communicate drug safety information. We then validated those prototypes with a new set of patients to get their feedback and further refine the new design.
The new UPL version of drug safety information is much more visual. We focused on using icons and white space, as well as simpler language. We also added more information based on what patients told us was important to them. The UPL version shares how often side effects were observed in clinical trials, and provides more details on how to take the medicine.