Case studies

John's story

John is 33 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease 10 years ago. For the past six months he has been experiencing more flares; this has affected his ability to work and socialize.
Following a visit to his doctor, John is prescribed a new treatment and enrolled onto the accompanying Atlantis Healthcare support program.

Nichola's story

Nichola is 56 years old and was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) eight years ago. She has been prescribed disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs  (DMARDs) for the past two years, but feels that her flare-ups are getting worse. She decides to discuss this with her doctor at her next check-up.

Henry & Grace's story

Henry has been living with Parkinson’s disease for the past 10 years and his condition is advancing – he is experiencing more impactful symptoms on a day-to-day basis. This has meant that his wife, Grace, has had to do more to support him with managing his condition and its impact.

Our self-management approach

In order to effectively support people like John in the self-management of Crohn’s disease, our team of health psychology specialists gathered evidence and insights relating to the clinical and psychosocial needs of people with the condition. Research was also conducted directly with patients and healthcare professionals to understand the lived experience of the disease.

A range of key self-management behaviors were identified as a priority for this population including: Treatment Adherence, Healthy Eating, Smoking Cessation, Managing Symptoms and Accessing Support.


The fact that the specific causes of Crohn’s disease are unclear can have a negative impact on patient perceptions of cause, control and confidence in their healthcare team.

Our Self-Management Framework

Our proprietary framework allows us to identify and target, at an individual level, the specific factors that act as barriers to self-management behaviors. For John, his key behavior was Adherence to Treatment. His barriers were unhelpful beliefs about treatment, low sense of personal control over his Crohn’s and poor communication with his HCP.




33% higher persistence at 6 months compared to people prescribed the same treatment, but not on the program.


Winner of Patient Adherence and Compliance Program 2013 at the Pharmaceutical Marketing European Awards and a runner up in 2015.

Our self-management approach

DMARDs require the use of two therapies together – evidence shows that this can improve efficacy. However, there is also a problem with adherence, and when treatments are not taken together, efficacy can be reduced.

We conducted advisory boards with key healthcare professionals in this area to help determine the level of understanding of the adherence problem and to discuss potential solutions.

Our Self-Management Framework

Our research and understanding of this population uncovered a number of factors impacting their adherence to DMARDs. These included: Treatment Necessity, Treatment Understanding, IIlness coherence and Treatment Efficacy.     

Our solution

Our Acceptance solution was selected for this program. Consultants and specialist nurses were provided with discussion guides covering the key adherence factors identified through our research. This solution was used during consultations and was given to patients to read and review themselves, post-consultation.

Nichola’s consultant used this discussion guide at her check-up, asking a series of short questions at the start to ascertain what her specific barriers may be. Her responses highlighted that she had not been using the treatment as prescribed – because she had not understood the importance of using the therapies together – and that she had some misunderstandings about her disease.



Having worked in pharma for over eight years, never have I worked on a medical education project that has received such positive feedback from HCPs. These materials focus on a key area of unmet need for rheumatology services” – Client

“There were a couple of [patients] where you thought, ‘oh God, we’ve really not given this person very much information at all…’ People that had been on drugs for five, ten years, were saying, ‘what’s this DMARD thing that they keep talking about?’... So it was quite illuminating” – HCP

“It’s about empowering patients and getting them to start thinking about their disease and treatment and how they can influence that if they need to” – HCP

Our self-management approach

Our primary research with people who have Parkinson's disease and patient advocacy showed that a label of advanced Parkinson's disease means more than just a change of treatment for patients. It also represents a move into the next stage of the disease. This can be highly impactful in terms of disease burden – both for the patients themselves and for those who will have to increase the level of care they provide.

We therefore wanted to offer a solution that not only supported acceptance and adherence to treatment, but also acknowledged and prepared people for the changes to come.

Our Self-Management Framework

Our research and work with patient advocacy showed that some of the key factors impacting adjustment to Parkinson's disease included: Illness Coherence, Personal Control, Social Support and HCP Relationship.    




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