Big QuestionsOur work related to complex challenges.

The Challenge

Help PillPack, an IDEO startup-in-residence, build a venturing strategy for its prescription home-delivery system.


PillPack now delivers hundreds of thousands of prescriptions every month. Amazon bought PillPack in June 2018 for $1 billion.


A refined brand vision, strategy, and identity across channels, as well as a redesigned website, a private dashboard for PillPack customers, and a suite of physical products.

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.

An online pharmacy called PillPack had a mission to make it easier. PillPack worked to build a prescription home-delivery system that takes the pain out of the whole process. The venture 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 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 an IDEO-designed durable dispenser that is meant to become part of customers’ routines and fit seamlessly into their homes. IDEO also designed a travel pouch that makes taking medicine on-the-go simple and discreet. For those who need a human to talk to, pharmacists at PillPack's pharmacies are available anytime via phone or email to answer questions.

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

PillPack was the second startup-in-residence to work with IDEO Cambridge. 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 to refine the company’s brand vision, strategy, and identity across channels, and used this framework to completely redesign PillPack’s website, as well as a private dashboard for customers and a suite of physical products.

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 is still the only independent pharmacy in the U.S. that serves customers nationwide.

“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.

Health and Wellness
Medical Products and Services
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