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ViiV Healthcare’s Innovation Unit offers fresh approach to solving important challenges in HIV

Meet our colleagues Patrick Ménard, National Sales Manager and Lucy Hayward, HIV Customer Insight Lead at ViiV Healthcare, two integral members of ‘the hive’ – our specialist HIV digital innovation unit dedicated to addressing areas of need in HIV care that go beyond treatment.

At ViiV Healthcare we collaborate to innovate in order to improve the lives of people living with HIV. One way we cultivate insight and inspiration is through ‘the hive’ – our specialist HIV digital innovation unit dedicated to addressing areas of need in HIV care that go beyond the treatment. Through the hive, ViiV Healthcare aims to deliver breakthrough digital innovations which improve the lives of those affected by HIV and support the work of the people who treat them.

People from across our company get involved – most through a special secondment opportunity, wherein employees join hive teams for three months of focused work.

Patrick Ménard, National Sales Manager in Canada and Lucy Hayward, HIV Customer Insight Lead in the UK were the first to join the hive sprint teams. Patrick’s team was charged with re-imagining how ViiV Healthcare could optimise the dialogue between people living with HIV and the broader healthcare community, such as conversations between patients and HIV specialists. Lucy’s team was asked to improve the digital experience at HIV medical congresses so that information sharing is more engaging, educational and energising for healthcare professionals. Both Lucy and Patrick immersed themselves into their challenges, seizing learning opportunities and experiences distinct from their regular job responsibilities.

“The premise of the hive is innovation – pushing you out of your normal thought process to focus on a specific challenge. Our teams bring fresh thinking and pursue ideas that could really make a difference for people living with HIV.” said Lucy.

Other team members hailed from outside the pharmaceutical sector and HIV field, including tech entrepreneurs, innovation consultants, and user experience designers from a range of industries. Teams come up with a solution to their challenge and deliver a prototype in just fifteen weeks.

“At the beginning, there is a lot of journey mapping, so days and days are spent looking at every touch point with patients and trying to determine where the actual need was,” said Patrick.

“The second part focused on building up the prototype, with some of our team focusing more on the business case and others on the technology aspect.”

Both Patrick and Lucy’s teams proposed app-based solutions to their respective challenges, exploring how social networking can help patients and HIV specialists collaborate with each other. Other hive teams have developed innovative solutions including a new digitally-based HIV testing support kit, an online platform for connecting people living with HIV with mentors, and an app to connect medical doctors at HIV conferences. These ideas are now progressing into a pilot stage with the first live pilot expected later this year.

For Patrick and Lucy, their time with the hive reinforced the importance of delivering solutions from the perspective of people living with HIV above all else. Now back at their regular jobs, they reinforce this standpoint and attitude to their projects.

“I have noticed a natural shift in my thought process since returning to the UK team,” commented Lucy.  

“At the hive we were constantly challenged to think about the user need and what benefit it delivers – which has taught me to automatically turn the question around to how I would feel if I were receiving the message and how would I want to be communicated with.”

The hive offers ViiV Healthcare employees the chance to expand their thinking in a unique environment and to help solve important areas of need in HIV care. By bringing together thinkers from ViiV Healthcare and beyond who are keenly focused on digital innovation, the hive aims to ensure people living with HIV have better support and care.