Marianne Norelius, hälsostrateg på Apoteket. Foto: Jennifer Nemie.

Motivation is key

“People who smoke know it’s dangerous. But by using the Health Lab they can see what effect on their health quitting smoking would have. This can be the motivation that gets them over the threshold,” says Marianne Norelius, a health strategist at Apoteket, a major Swedish chain of pharmacies.

More than half of the people who pick up prescription medication at Apoteket suffer from one or other of our most common diseases. Diseases which in some cases could be avoided by changes in lifestyle. This convinced Apoteket to develop the Health Check (hälsokollen). Available at Apoteket pharmacies this test quickly gives a person answers as to what he or she needs to work on in order to reduce the risk of these diseases. During the same period Apoteket developed the Health Lab (hälsolabbet), a webpage at where customers are given advice and support to enable them to implement the changes they have decided to make, such as quitting smoking or losing weight. 

“We know how hard it is to change habits. That’s why the Health Lab was an obvious follow-on to Apoteket’s Health Check,” says Marianne Norelius, health strategist at Apoteket. 

A challenge to create lasting change

Both the Health Check and the Health Lab were developed in close collaboration between Apoteket and the Doberman design firm. For Apoteket it was important that not only the contents but also the form and the execution had a scientific basis. Johan Dovelius, design director at Doberman, says the big challenge was to create lasting change in how people live. 

“If the user goes and buys a pair of walking poles and then never uses them then the design has failed. The benefit appears when the user changes his or her lifestyle for the better, for example, eats in a healthier way, moves more and smokes less. To find out what the users wanted we worked early in the process with focus groups. We also did in-depth interviews with business owners to find out how they would like the services to work, whether they would buy them for their employees.” 

“It became obvious how important it was that the Health Lab existed as a support function for the Health Check,” Marianne Norelius says. “You cannot just leave people with a message about their health without offering them help to move forward.” 

Text: Johanna Ohlson Photos: Jennifer Nemie

The article was originally published in Design & Affärer 2012.

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SVID, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation | Svensksundsvägen 13, 111 49 Stockholm | I +46 (0)8 406 84 40


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SVID, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation | Svensksundsvägen 13, 111 49 Stockholm | I +46 (0)8 406 84 40