Case Study

Building better patient journeys

Building better patient journeys
Cello Health Insight


A US based global pharmaceutical company


The client needed to understand the patient journey in a rare disease in order to inform their brand strategy. We helped them:
Understand when symptoms are noticed and brought to the attention of a healthcare professional
Explore which healthcare professionals are seen first and the referral process
Identify when a diagnosis is made, and what the patient is told about the diagnosis
Consider what patients understand about the diagnosis, disease progression and what information they would like to have
Identify areas of greatest support needed for the patient and physicians
Assess reactions to a potential treatment in the pipeline


The client was unaware of the HCP touchpoints and disease burden experienced in early journey phases. In order to build a composite journey we wanted to engage with patients multiple times but given the rarity of disease and difficulty in finding patients at various points in the journey, this took considerable time.

We used a variety of methodologies including digital patient pathway exercises, web-based telephone interviews, in-home ethnographic dyad interviews, and a subgroup of patients and caregivers also completed self-ethnography videos over the course of several weeks to share the impact of the disease on daily living.


We were able to map an interactive patient journey deliverable, noting the shifts in patient needs as their condition worsened, and highlighting which healthcare professionals were involved pre-diagnosis and through disease management. We made recommendations on key transactional moments where the client could intervene and strategies to engage HCPs, patients, and caregivers. We delivered insight to inform strategies focused on raising awareness, driving HCP urgency in sharing diagnosis, and increasing HCP and patient engagement to influence acquisition, initiation, and adherence.

Interestingly, this research uncovered that some HCPs were not sharing the diagnosis with patients until their condition progressed, due to lack of available treatments. This led to patients feeling cheated of time to prepare and do things that disease progression made impossible. Identifying this gap was critical to the development of our client’s brand strategy and support services.

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