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In Their Shoes

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is known for its isolating and disruptive nature, as well as the physical and emotional challenges it presents to those living with the disease. Takeda’s commitment to patients has always been a hallmark of the work we do, but our recent program “In Their Shoes” – an immersive IBD simulation – took this commitment even further by engaging employees and external stakeholders to actually experience a small part of what the patient endures. We wanted to generate a deeper understanding of how this disease affects the daily lives of patients and ultimately improve how we and our partners in healthcare support these patients.

In the U.S., “In Their Shoes” was launched with a two-day simulation during which dozens of Takeda employees learned about the condition in the most effective and profound way: by “living with it.” The program utilized a mobile application to guide participants through some of the common struggles patients face. An “IBD kit” of materials was used to participate in “challenges” prompted by the app. These challenges were designed to simulate several physical and emotional aspects of the disease. Through role-play scenarios and interactions with actors playing managers, nurses, and healthcare professionals, employees gained unparalleled insight into the impact IBD can have across all aspects of someone’s life, including professional and personal relationships. While a simulation can never fully replicate the pain and disruption associated with IBD, physical discomfort and regular interruptions incorporated into the program helped employees walk “in the shoes” of someone with IBD.

Riding on the heels of success with the launch at U.S. headquarters in Deerfield, Takeda decided to externalize “In Their Shoes” and bring together stakeholders from across the healthcare industry, including legislators, payers, industry executives, and media, for an abridged half-day immersive “In Their Shoes” simulation. This experience culminated with an event on Capitol Hill to bring attention to what those with IBD experience. As with the internal launch, participants found “In Their Shoes” impactful and moving -- calling it “humbling,” ”intense,” and ”eye-opening.”

One journalist participant, who has IBD and is an influential member of the disease community, said: “I was … overwhelmed that people at Takeda care enough about understanding the patient perspective that they developed this program and encouraged their employees and others to participate in it. Those who have taken the program come away with a deeper understanding of how IBD negatively affects people in their daily lives. This, in turn, will spur them to uncover new facets in their work that is in service to patients with IBD, whether it be in research and development, marketing, or patient outreach.”

The words of this participant echo that of others and stand as a testament to the success of "In Their Shoes" and the innovative work being done at Takeda. We are proud to have created both internal and external advocates with a true emotional connection to the disease, bringing Takeda’s ‘patient-first’ commitment to life.