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Dealing with medication can often be a bigger pain than the ailment itself. Standing in long lines at the pharmacy, keeping up with expiration dates, making sure you take this medicine with food and that one on an empty stomach—it can be overwhelming.

A small online pharmacy called PillPack had a mission to make it easier. PillPack worked on building a prescription home-delivery system that takes the pain out of the whole process. They brought their business to IDEO’s Cambridge office as a startup-in-residence, and worked with designers to fine-tune their offer and showcase it to the world.

Here’s how it works: Your doctor sends your prescriptions straight to the pharmacists at PillPack, who organize the medications—including your refills, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements—into presorted, personalized packets. These tidy little packets are labeled by date and time and delivered to your doorstep. Every 14-day supply of medication fits neatly into a recyclable dispenser labeled with an image of each pill. For those who need a human to talk to, pharmacists at PillPack's New Hampshire pharmacy are available anytime via phone or email to answer questions.

Disrupting The Drugstore Pill Pack Shipment

PillPack delivers everything you need from the pharmacy to your door.

PillPack is the second startup-in-residence to work with IDEO Boston. Company founders Elliot Cohen and TJ Parker joined forces with the design team to redefine how consumers engage with their pharmacy. During the three-month residency, the teams focused on making sure that every customer interaction with PillPack—from signing up for the service online to using its product daily—was straightforward and reassuring.

Designers worked on refining the company’s brand vision, strategy, and identity across channels and used this framework to completely redesign PillPack’s website and private dashboard for logged-in customers.

The result was a set of tools that reflected a true understanding of PillPack’s customers, a well-articulated product and service, and a human-centered approach.

“PillPack has revealed the massive potential of combining design thinking and the drug market... This simple innovation makes life easier for seniors who can be a bit forgetful and have difficulty with bottles,” Wired wrote in an article about the company. “Younger patients with active lifestyles and chronic diseases can just pull as many packets as they need and go. All told, PillPack means you’ll never have to help your grandma sort pills into a tacky day-of-the-week organizer again.”

In June 2018, Amazon outbid other retailers to acquire PillPack for $1 billion.

Introducing PillPack.