Reshaping how people live with a disease

What was the challenge?

Patients suffering from the metabolic disease phenylketonuria (PKU) have to follow a strict diet throughout their lives and are forced to take many supplements every day. This has a major impact on the daily lives of these patients, and many find it difficult to adhere to these strict rules and are not able to adhere to their therapy. This has major negative consequences for their health. For Danone, who develops nutritional supplements that are essential for this group, we investigated which factors play a role in treatment adherence and how we can support patients in their treatment.

What did we do?

In recent years, much research had been carried out on behalf of the organization. Since the population suffering from this disease is very small, we decided not to carry out any new fieldwork. Instead, we reviewed the existing studies with a different perspective and by connecting the dots from the various reports.

I want a protein substitute that doesn’t look like a protein substitute, but like regular food so I can feel completely normal.



What did we discover?

Dozens of documents were systematically reviewed and the combination of existing and new insights led to a framework of seven factors that play a role in non-compliance. First of all, the diet and supplements that the patient has to follow / to take play a major role; when someone has to go to great lengths to prepare suitable meals, or has to take a lot of supplements, there is a good chance that people do not adhere to this. In addition, we saw how decisive the knowledge and attitude towards the condition are. The important role that the environment can play, and especially the impact of (unforeseen) situational changes. And last but not least, the importance of motivation, both internally and externally driven.

What did we deliver?

We have described in detail what the seven factors imply for PKU patients. For example, the role of the environment is very different for a patient suffering from PKU than for patients who suffer from other chronic conditions. Furthermore, we have translated the insights for each factor into potential solutions where Danone can actively play a role in order to stimulate adherence.

What was the impact for the client?

In addition to new insights and ideas we also reviewed all current activities, products and solutions (e.g. website, information leaflets) that Danone offers in six countries against the framework. This review uncovered many existing solutions that can help patient adherence. These are currently being implemented across the organization and the different countries.

Behavioral change

The service we used for this project

Take a human-centered approach to nudge people (often imperceptibly) to some kind of mutually desirable, positive behavior change.

More about behavioral change

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