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PharMEDium: Website Design & Development

PharMEDium is the nation’s largest provider of outsourced compounded sterile preparations (CSPs). They hired us to match the quality of their products by redesigning and developing a new website.
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PharMEDium® - Making Patient Safety Come First

“Life. The reason we do what we do.” – PharMEDium®

For a company like PharMEDium, making a superior quality product isn’t just an objective: Life and death literally hang in the balance.

As the nation’s largest provider of outsourced compounded sterile preparations (CSPs), PharMEDium, which is based in Lake Forest, IL, performs the mixing and packaging of ready-to-use, pre-measured dosages of drugs that are administered every day by doctors and nurses to patients in hospitals and intensive care units to manage pain, undergo surgery, and treat numerous medical conditions and illnesses. Now a subsidiary of AmerisourceBergen, PharMEDium operates four state-of-the-art, FDA-registered facilities across the US where its highly trained workforce mixes and packages more than 2,800 types of drug preparations that meet the highest quality standards and federal requirements. Its packaging provides a unique system of color-coded labeling that not only ensures healthcare providers administer the correct drug at the precise dosage but also mitigates the risk of error that might occur with “look alike” drugs or misread instructions.

The Project

PharMEDium engaged Solid Digital in 2014 for a comprehensive rebuild of their website. At the time, the existing site was only two years old. Yet the design was rudimentary, with scant information about the company or its products and services. Devoid of compelling content, with zero optimization to help people find it an online search, the site was serving simply as a portal for a small number of existing customers to reorder its products online.

PharMEDium’s executives realized that their weak web presence was undermining the firm’s greatest strengths–its continuous innovations, new products, and adherence to the highest patient safety standards that position the firm as a global leader in the CSP market–and its ability to attract new customers and provide in-depth education about the efficacy and superiority of PharMEDium’s products and services which accounted for the company’s nearly $375 million in sales in 2014.

pharmedium case study

Our Approach

What sets Solid Digital apart from other digital agencies is our ability to “deep dive” into our client’s business, culture, and customers and envision solutions that reflect a holistic understanding of their mission, unique “voice,” and goals.

We were referred to PharMEDium by a former client (client referrals account for more than 60% of our new business) and immediately got to work. Our discovery process began with an in-person “field trip” to one of PharMEDium’s outsourcing facilities in Memphis, TN. We toured the facility to observe first-hand the rigorous processes involved in producing CSPs, from the sterile rooms where workers clad in protective gear mix preparations and perform quality control testing, to the meticulous labeling and packaging of those preparations, to how they are stored and go out the door to customers. We also got to talk with a variety of workers about their jobs and gained valuable insights into the company’s culture.

Following our tour, we returned to PharMEDium’s Chicago area headquarters to conduct a two-day intensive workshop with the company’s senior executives and stakeholders, who included directors of customer care, HR, product development, marketing, operations, and sales. We analyzed customer surveys and gained keen insights into their target customers and users — a sophisticated, highly-educated audience primarily made up of in-hospital pharmacists, anesthesiologists, surgeons, and hospital-group administrators as well as nurses and pharmacy technicians seeking reliable information — to flesh out detailed customer personas, which also informed the structure of the site, design, and messaging.


The Challenges

As seasoned designers and marketers in the healthcare arena, we have a keen understanding of the strict government regulations overseeing pharmaceutical companies, which just can’t slap a claim of “the best” or “most effective” into their marketing and call it a day. Each page of content underwent a thorough vetting by the company’s team of experts to ensure compliance with FDA rules — an extended content review process involving the company’s legal, regulatory, and medical experts.

With any client, unforeseen circumstances such as personnel changes can also alter a project’s timeline and agreed-upon strategy. Midway through the project, PharMEDium had a change in executive leadership and brought on a new marketing team. The project was put on hold as the company established new branding standards that, once in play, sent our design team back to the drawing board to create new mockups, color schemes, and messaging. Because of numerous stops and starts and PharMEDium’s necessary but arduous approval process, our timeline stretched out much longer than we had anticipated. Nevertheless, as the project was put on indefinite hold we stood by our guarantee to deliver a superior website and made adjustments in our scheduling to accommodate our client’s circumstances — as we would with any client we partner with — without altering the overall terms of our original agreement.

The Outcome

Standing by our client through all its changes and transformations ultimately paid off when PharMEDium finally went live in March 2017 with a new website that fully reflects the company, its culture, its array of products and services, and its commitment to patient safety and education. The site’s new features include:

  • Compelling visuals that reflect the company’s tagline, “Life. The reason we do what we do.” This includes a homepage video that tells the PharMEDium story through the experience of a little girl going into surgery, recovering in her hospital room, and rejoining her family healthy and happy.
  • A visual showcase of PharMEDium products emphasizing patient safety, safety protocols, and product innovations such as new color coding systems, pre-filled syringes and bags for mistake-free handling.
  • A comprehensive product catalog and enhanced ordering system that allows bulk purchases, order status and shipment tracking, and account histories.
  • A log-in accessible customer resource center.
  • Site optimization that includes keywords and every page tagged with PharMEDium’s FDA registration number that identifies it as an approved outsourcing facility.
  • An updatable “ticker” that provides a snapshot of number of products produced daily, number of employees, and number of product offerings
  • Responsive design that allows full access and ordering capabilities from smartphones and tablets.

We pride ourselves on nurturing long-term engagements with our clients, and PharMEDium is a prime example. In the three years since we first joined forces, PharMEDium continues to rely on Solid Digital to provide ongoing services in site maintenance, content updates, new functionality, and marketing including paid search and SEO.

To take a phrase from PharMEDium’s mission, building lasting relationships with great companies is the reason we at Solid Digital do what we do.

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