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Hypertension in the Pharmacy — a Service Design Approach to Health Service Change in the Community


Shoppers Drug Mart / Loblaw Companies Ltd. (SDM/LCL) recognized the need to help their customers with hypertension. Known as “the silent killer”, hypertension affects about 1 in 5 adults in Canada and most individuals don’t know that they have it. The project problem became about “How do we speak to our customers and influence an important health service change in the pharmacy, if our users don’t know that they are at risk?”

1 in 5 Canadians between the ages 20 and 79 have hypertension even though 18% of people with hypertension don’t know they have it. (Source: Hypertension Canada)

Project Goals:

  1. Understand customers’ unmet needs around hypertension;
  2. Leverage SDM/LCL assets to envision unique solutions to meet their identified needs;
  3. Take a User-Centred Design approach to research and test concept viability.
Persona findings
The UX research and co-design approach helped stakeholders work together to generate many concept ideas for testing.


Pivot Design leveraged a user experience design approach to help SDM/LCL better understand the needs of their customers in the pharmacy. Using their strategic Informed Design process, Pivot engaged with stakeholders, patients, and pharmacists to explore the challenge—how do we speak to people with hypertension if they don’t know they have it?

This journey of discovery included field visits to pharmacies, persona creation to create user archetypes, and persona validation through one-on-one interviews. Some critical learnings also came from the co-design sessions that we facilitated with stakeholders (business leads and pharmacists) to ideate concepts for implementation in the pharmacy space.

Design Concept Focus:

To enhance the in-person experience of checking blood pressure while incorporating the pharmacy team as a critical part of hypertension awareness, prevention and management.

Finally, Pivot conducted user testing of “hypertension in the pharmacy” concepts and provided SDM/LCL a summary of key findings and recommendations for future implementation of the solution. Deliverables included a storyboarded concept of the experience within a pharmacy and click-thru prototype of a digital experience that we co-created with project stakeholders.

Storyboard concepts were testing in real life in a prototype pharmacy space.


As a result of this engagement, SDM/LCL continues to use the research framework that was developed by Pivot Design to test, iterate, and validate concepts at the pharmacy. Insights from our project together have gone into a pilot project for Hypertension in the pharmacy, and is successfully providing patients with the support they need to learn about and manage their condition. With Pivot's help, SDM/LCL has a better understanding of how to create a user-centered experience that supports their customers' health needs and effectively adapts health service change in the pharmacy.

Strategic UX Research & Design framework developed by Pivot for SDM/LCL.