Designing the User Experience of Pharma and Healthcare Technology

Why take the course?

Pharma and healthcare technology has gradually come to rely more and more on user experience design in all aspects of the product life-cycle. From clinical trials to patient support programs, it is critical to understand how to transform a deep understanding of people into both strategic, tactical and operational design decisions. This need continues to extend due to structural changes such as the decentralized clinical trials, the demand of real world evidence and sustainable health economic documentation.

Bioscience, engineering, and humanistic design must now go hand-in-hand for pharma and healthcare to be relevant and successful to ensure continued health economic value and growth. This development is further accentuated with the introduction of connected devices and digital health to widespread digital platforms and infrastructure like smartphones and -watches, personal voice assistants and AI.
To introduce you to this development, the IT-University has put together a 3-day professional course that will give you both an overview of this development and select user experience design tools needed to capitalise on it.

About the course

The course will give you a framework for understanding the strategic value of UX design for pharma and healthcare. Here you will get a general introduction to the role of user experience design in pharma and healthcare, which will help you identify and argue for how a diverse set of challenges related to patients (and professional users like healthcare professionals) can be addressed with UX Design.

In addition, there will be several thematic deep-dive sessions, which will give you both inspirational input and  hands-on experience with a number of concrete tools that helps you work with specific UX design challenges.


Course content

The role of user experience design in pharma and health-tech.
- a general introduction:


The life-cycle of pharma and products is naturally divided into different areas that involves different stakeholders - from R&D to regulatory, to marketing to patient support. However, design cuts across this natural division as a quality that influences the business objectives of each of these phases. For instance, design can play a central role in ensuring strong clinical documentation and help build diverse claims. Design is also critical in enabling the successful deployment and adoption of products and treatments for a diverse set of stakeholders and users - from sales representatives, to HCPs, caregivers and patients.


We also see the role of design playing a larger role when new demands related to patient related outcomes and health economic outcomes. This puts a focus on how we can empower HCPs, care-givers and patients with user experience design in both clinical trials and patient support programs.


We also see demands for design when clinical trials evolve to become more longitudinal and shifts towards more decentralised out-patient treatment with fewer visits to clinics. This puts a huge demand on how to support correct self-treatment and data-sampling. User Experience design and the ability to factor in a broad scope of user needs that goes beyond the narrow “patient” mindset is critical to succeed in this decentralised approach.


The same logic applies to how we can support patients to integrate prescribed treatments into their lives for shorter or longer durations like chronic patients. Design plays both a role in supporting adherence but also in enabling the patient to reclaim as much quality of life as possible as a key measure of health economic outcomes. This becomes even more evident when access to qualified healthcare professionals is under pressure and becomes more and more limited.

Three thematic deep dives:

  • The business case for data-driven UX design medical claims and unique selling points [Rune Nørager]

    Having strong claims and unique selling points (USPs) is crucial to health tech businesses. Beyond the core treatment technology, there lies opportunities to have claims and USPs driven by UX design qualities. With the new Medical Device Regulation (MDR), such claims and USPs needs to be backed by data that are equally solid to the core treatment technology claims. Data-driven UX design claims, therefore, need to be factored in early in the product life-cycle and preferable alongside the main clinical trials. This lecture will unpack this UX design opportunity space relative to MDR and showcase examples of data-driven UX design claims and USPs. It will also include aspects of the role UX Design plays in patient-reported outcomes and health economic outcomes associated with patient quality of life.
  • User Experience and quality of life [Jonas Fritsch]

    The affective and psychic well-being of the user is a critical variable to consider in the design of products and services in general - and for health tech technologies specifically. For instance, a medical interventions may fail because people are challenged by emotional stressors related to work or family. This lecture will unpackage how affective and psychic well-being data can be sampled, communicated and used by primary users like patients and secondary users like HCPs. Specific cases will be presented where affective data was integrated into the design of different technologies like patent support programs and clinical support tools. Also, the lecture will consider how an affective and psychic well-being dimension can be integrated into the design processes.
  • Designing with innovative and sustainable UX design methods and analytical tools [Anna Vallgårda and Stina Jørgensen]

    The thematic deep-dive into how to design with innovative and sustainable UX design methods and analytical tools concerns 1) how to design medical devices for meaningful appropriation into peoples’ lives,  2) how to use innovative UX methods such as interaction critique and individual design, and 3) how to conduct user experience research in relation to digital platforms and emerging care technologies such as Virtual Reality and personal voice assistants.

Structure of the course

Course Day 1 (9:00 - 15:30)

  • General introduction to the role of user experience design in pharma and healthcare
  • Thematic deep-dive: The business case for data-driven UX design medical claims and unique selling points 1 [Human Factors Specialist, PhD, CEO, Rune Nørager]
  • Lunch
  • Thematic deep-dive: User Experience and Quality of life  [Associate Professor, Jonas Fritsch ]
  • Discussion
  • Preparations for course day 2

Course Day 2 (9:00 - 15:30)

  • Thematic deep-dive: Integration of Medical Treatments in People’s Everyday Life [Associate Professor, Anna Vallgårda]
  • Thematic deep-dive: UX Design for Medical Trials and Treatments at Home: Aesthetics and Identity [Associate Professor, Anna Vallgårda and Postdoc Stina Jørgensen]
  • Interaction-critique session 
  • Lunch
  • Thematic deep-dive: Sustainable UX Design Methods [Associate Professor, Anna Vallgårda and Postdoc, Stina Jørgensen]
  • Workshop and presentation

Course Day 3 (9:00 - 15:30)

  • Thematic deep-dive: User experience research of emerging care technologies [Postdoc, Stina Jørgensen]
  • Lunch
  • Thematic deep-dive: The business case for data-driven UX design medical claims and unique selling points 2 [Human Factors Specialist, PhD, CEO, Rune Nørager]
  • DiscussionNetwork and future perspectives

With the course you will achieve the following competencies::

  • Understand and gauge the business value of UX Design for pharma and
  • Understand and argue how UX Design play a critical role to the business objectives throughout the entire product life-cycle (e.g. claims and unique selling points).
  • Understand how future needs for an empowered patient in outpatient clinical trials and treatments alike can be supported with interaction design.
  • Gain insights into cutting edge interaction design like smart speakers, personal assistants and other automated devices).
  • Experience with innovative and sustainable UX design methods and analysis tools like interaction critiques, designing with characters and ultimate particular user research.


Rune Nørager

Rune Nørager is an external Associate Lecturer at the IT University with a MSc., Ph.D. in psychology.

He is the CEO of Design Psychology Ltd. where his main focus areas are design psychology, interaction psychology and human-computer interaction, experimental psychology, cognitive psychology and developmental psychology.

Stina Hasse Joergsensen - Postdoctoral researcher at the Affective Interactions & Relations (AIR) Lab

Stina Jørgensen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Affective Interactions & Relations (AIR) Lab at the Digital Design Department at the IT University of Copenhagen. 

Among other things, she conducts user experience research in relation to digital platforms and emerging care technologies such as personal voice assistants in smart homes.

Jonas Fritsch - PhD and Associate Professor in Interaction Design at ITU

Jonas Fritsch, PhD, is Associate Professor in Interaction Design at the IT University of Copenhagen in the Department of Digital Design. He leads the Affective Interaction & Relations (AIR) Lab Research Group at ITU ( and is head of the Design Research Section.

His research revolves around a creative thinking of interaction design, design processes, experience philosophy and affect theory through practical design experiments using exploratory technologies in a variety of applied context many of which are related to digital healthcare. He is co-managing the DFF (Danish Independent Research Council)-funded project on Affects, Interfaces, Events (2014-present).

ITU Associate Professor Anna Vallgaarda

Anna Vallgårda is an Associate Professor and Head of the ixd lab at the IT University of Copenhagen.

Her research is about developing methods for the interaction designer; methods that will help them engage with the entanglements of their designs in relation to the body, the social and cultural, and the environment. She does this from the perspective of care, and she explores ways for the designer to care for the users’ various situations, desires, aesthetics, norms and values. She works through material prototyping and methodological explorations.


Multiple stakeholders will benefit from this course as it covers design themes for the entire product life-cycle. Professionals from the following functions are in focus for the three day course: 

  • Clinical Research, evidence and adoption.
  • Market research, medical marketing, and market access. 
  • HCP engagement
  • Connected health / Digital health / E-health 
  • Patient education 
  • Patient insights and design development.


Time and place:
The course will take place at the IT University on 16, 17 and 18 November 2021. The course will be offered again on 13, 14 and 15 December 2021.

Admission requirements
There are no admission requirements.

15.000 kr. Note that a discount of 25 % is granted if you register before 15 August 2021. The price does not include value added tax.

The course is taught in English. There is no exam but you will be awarded a certificate upon completion of the course.