Using Design Thinking to Identify Barriers and Improve Adoption


Cardiology, Diagnostic Testing


Strategy, Design Thinking, Advisory Boards, Content Development, iCRM, Analytics


No program will succeed if those who need it don’t know about it. Our client had deployed a patient education program that could mitigate appointment cancellations, but some of the sales teams were reluctant to promote it. How do you convince sales reps to let go of entrenched beliefs so they can see a program’s potential?


At our client’s request, ENTRADA had developed a digital patient education program that helps patients prepare for a cardiac stress test. Unprepared patients often lead to cancellations and rescheduled appointments, which creates a burden for hospital staff.

The sales teams were tasked with promoting the program to healthcare practitioners (HCPs). Over time, however, it became clear that not all of the sales teams were promoting the program to its fullest, and some weren’t promoting it at all. This was happening despite feedback from HCPs that patients who used the program were better prepared and seemed to have an easier time on test day, which in turn did lead to fewer cancellations or reschedules.

Some sales teams had developed entrenched beliefs about the program, its use, and its market appeal that appeared to be holding them back. Our client wanted to determine both the perceived barriers to promoting the program as well as the actual barriers, and then find potential solutions.


ENTRADA conducted a virtual Decision Sprint with 3-4 reps who saw high value in the program and 3-4 reps who saw medium or low value in the program. The Decision Sprint was broken into 3 key sessions, each running about 2 hours:

  • Discovery Workshop. Leading with an empathic approach, we explored the various viewpoints held about the patient education program. This helped us gain a deeper understanding of the challenges the sales teams faced in “selling” the program. We also discussed the key barriers by stakeholder (Patient, HCP, Office Staff, Sales Team).
  • Design & Innovation Workshop. Using ENTRADA’s design thinking tools, we worked with the sales reps to imagine how the program could be enhanced, and what selling tools would be most helpful. We then segmented these ideas into 2 key themes and organized them, with the help of the sales teams, based on feasibility and importance.
  • Decide Workshop. Once again relying on our design thinking framework, we narrowed our focus to the top 3 tactics the sales teams felt would have the most impact. Using the framework, we developed these ideas in greater detail, identified potential barriers to success, and determined the best path forward for execution.
  • The Decision Sprint generated more than 200 actionable ideas, including multiple program enhancements. Ideas ranged from additions to patient explainer videos and handouts, to creating an objection handler that could help address the most common objections encountered by sales teams.
  • Many of the recommendations are currently being built for sales teams, including:
    • New sales training video, program assets checklist, new patient and HCP communications, and website updates.
  • Positive feedback:
    • “When I first got an email for a 2-hour Zoom call, I was like uh-oh, but it didn’t seem like 2 hours. It was really interactive!”
    • “I love that I learned something new today, with a new tool. Thank you so much!”
    • “I’m on vacation, but this meeting was too important to miss!”


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