Success Stories

Market Research

Innovative Patient Simulation App to Explore Treatment for Rare Disease


Our client, a mid-size specialty pharmaceutical company, was preparing for the launch of their novel osteoarthritis therapy. However, the increasing market complexities around this new treatment made it difficult for our client to comprehend key insights into their market. They contracted KMK to better understand the rare disease treatment algorithm and devise a successful launch plan and corresponding marketing strategy.


KMK’s market research team developed a unique virtual patient simulation app, InTask, to allow our client to explore critical nuances that helped shape their launch planning and understand how patient presentation interacts with physician beliefs about treatment options to drive physician decision-making. 

InTask programmed an osteoarthritis patient simulator for the iPad, incorporating a range of patient types to uncover potential opportunities for their product throughout the patient journey. Rich media, such as radiographs, were included in the simulation to add realism and stimulate deeper discussion. 

The InTask Patient Simulation app has four key capabilities:

  • It allows the interviewer to employ cognitive interviewing techniques (also known as “think out loud”) 
  • It presents the physician respondent with realistic, simulated patient interactions.
  • It helps avoid bias toward rationalizing past actions by creating a forward-looking respondent mindset (with outcomes uncertain, physicians were forced to consider multiple future scenarios)
  • It can be used in designing market research studies and conducting interviews
Utilizing InTask, our client gained key insights into the complexity underlying a deceptively simple osteoarthritis treatment algorithm.  


After using InTask, our client:

  • Developed a more nuanced understanding of the complexities around treatmentthanks to the possibility of better patient simulation
  • Created support programs and messaging that was more appropriate to a complex treatment algorithm with their new, more precise grasp of HCP and patient behavior
  • Gained a better understanding of informed launch planning and marketing throughout the product lifecycle 

Key Takeaways

Our client discovered that the continuity of treatment is not always sequential or linear, because physicians will sometimes interweave treatments and/or occasionally revisit previously abandoned treatments. For example, patients may use a step-back alternative treatment as a remission of relief before they are provided the primary desired treatment due to the time constraint of insurance coverage.  

The InTask simulation allowed them to discover that, especially with rare disease, treatment is seldom liner and prescribing doctors prefer to utilize several treatment options at their disposal at varying points of the patient journey.  These insights helped them better understand the treatment algorithm for muscular-skeletal conditions in preparation for launch as well as during the patient journey, and armed them with the knowledge to inform their business and brand promotion strategies. A much more effective study design was developed through InTask that helped in minimizing the bias introduced by misunderstood data. 

All patient simulation is not created equal – by designing virtual patient simulation software from the ground up, our market research team was able to offer our client a much more nuanced understanding of why and how their therapy was administered, which ultimately led to a successful launch.

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