Klick Health

Co-creation in healthcare

SVP, Strategy

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Co-creation by definition requires engaged participants to work. In co-creation the “owner” reaches out and allows for participants, who are not normally part of the product development process, to interact with the teams and inject ideas and designs. These external participants need to be engaged enough that they are willing to devote time, creativity, and energy to the project even though there is typically no direct compensation.

There have been examples of co-creation in healthcare, three of the examples that we cite here at Klick are:

An RA fitness support program

This program ran in 2010 and had roughly 300 participants on a private online community. The goal was to determine frustration and disconnects with current fitness-related education materials, which the online community delivered both through organic discussions and directed topics. Next came the ideation stage with an external non-profit which progressed through a few iterations.


The end result was a fitness kit that the company could feel confident would match the existing market needs.

Online Community

There was a need identified for newly-diagnosed cancer patients by a national non-profit. This organization wanted to discover the most relevant information for these patients so they could more accurately deliver on their mandate to help the community. Again, this organization created a private online community with approximately 300 participants. They were invited to share their experiences and aspirations through images and stories plus they were encouraged to support one another through advice.

For two years this community was monitored both passively and actively through weekly survey questions. When new materials were developed they were put through the community for feedback before being launched.


The results were more effective materials from the non-profit, insights for the care organizations that serve the patients, and ultimately a WebMD microsite through a custom partnership.

Branded product campaign development

A new consumer drug was entering the market with challenges due to excessive expectations from its target markets. This branded drug needed to find a way to enter the market with the right level of excitement but without setting patient expectations too high.

Phase one was an online community of 300 participants (notice a trend?) that allowed the brand owners to listen in and learn the patient needs, motivations, and challenges.

Phase two was a smaller group that was invited to help design, evaluate, and test marketing and support material, including product packaging, that would help the product achieve the balance it was looking for.

Phase three was the recruitment of early adopters (400) in an online community to educate, learn from, and support one another. The goal was to learn what worked for these early patients but the online community inadvertently created a large number of vocal advocates of the product.


The two-year program resulted in five online communities and many benefits for the branded product:


These three examples are fairly compelling. Think about your new products in light of co-creation activities and reap the benefits of tighter customer engagement.

More About the Author

Greg Rice

Greg has a proven track record in the planning and execution of more than 20 pharma and medical device brand launches on both client and agency side. He started as a pharmacist, then moved to Eli Lilly, positions included CME Management, Brand Marketing, and New Product Planning and finally a country Managing Director at Euro RSCG Life.

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