Cannes Lions


BRAD, Montreal / ABBVIE / 2014

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Patient recruitment in clinical studies decreased by 43% between 2008 and 2010. The patient research team at AbbVie Canada set out to enhance its patient relationship strategy to increase patient recruitment in clinical trials and to improve the retention rate in these clinical trials.


• Position AbbVie Canada as a leader in clinical trials

• Demystify clinical research

• Promote the recruitment of new participants

• Support patients and their loved ones before, during and after their medical journeys

• Offer an experience centred on the patient


? Co-create, with patients, a retention program for clinical trials

? Design a multi faceted web-based platform that would, at once, provide information intended to raise further awareness of clinical trials and their associated issues, offer a personalized space to assist patients throughout their trials, and ensure that patients stay the course with their clinical trials


? We designed a digital platform that truly speaks to patients and their support network by addressing the emotional gaps within the clinical trial process.


Approximately 11,000 unique visitors

Average time spent on the site: 0:03:39

Patients indicating the sense of being understood

Significant increase in requests for information from potential patients


The creative challenge was to engage, educate and inspire patients through a platform that not only reflected the seriousness of the subject matter, but also integrated a significant amount of human warmth and empathy.

The Patients at Heart platform is divided into two parts: a public portal to trial information for patients to be well-informed; and a private section accessible only to patients with an access code. Individual profile pages allow patients to find their appointments, record their health statuses in trial journals, and print out the information for their healthcare professionals. This revolutionary platform ensures greater efficiency in information sharing, and, accordingly, a more personalized follow-up with significant time savings.

This digital platform is the centerpiece of a much larger-scale program, which includes a Patient Journey Box (containing, among other things, a printed guide about the study) and a program of face-to-face meetings between patients and caregivers.


The site recorded almost 11,000 unique visitors in the first months of the launch, an impressive number considering the specificity of the subject matter. More significant, however, was the average time spent on the site, 3 minutes and 39 seconds, a value demonstrating that visitors were actually navigating through the extensive information available.

Numerous patients also requested more information on specific clinical trials.

As for a proof of concept, the patients from the context labs we met at the beginning of the process were introduced to the final platform. They were highly impressed and indicated that we had far exceeded their expectations.

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