Understanding Urban Communities for a Chain of Low-Cost Clinics

Client / Company: Healthcare Company
Industry: Healthcare
Research Method: Ethnographic Research

Objectives and Methodologies

A Healthcare Company felt that several existing gaps in the Philippine healthcare market provided fertile ground for offering a disruptive healthcare innovation: A scalable network of affordable community-based primary care clinics for C2 and D market patients. Prior to scaling up, they planned to conduct a pilot test of the proposed business model to confirm the various assumptions embedded in the model. Curiosity was engaged to conduct user research with the target community, by way of focus group discussions, direct observation, and unstructured interviews, to gather local knowledge that will aid in the launch of the pilot test.



1. Identified common ailments are those related to life stages (age and gender) and common seasonal diseases.

2. Children and the elderly are the ones commonly stricken by ailments. Middle-aged adults perceive their bodies as more resistant to diseases than those of children and elderly, and therefore prioritize themselves less in allocation of resources for health care. This findings challenged pre-research assumptions, specifically the idea that families would want to prioritize the health of breadwinners to ensure stability of family income.

3. Primary care is only sought when a certain gravity of symptoms is reached based on various indicators. Most common ailments/symptoms, as well as chronic conditions, are by default, treated at home.

4. Seeking primary care is perceived as a viable option when

a. The condition inflicts a vulnerable member of the family;

b. Symptoms are unfamiliar, multiple or worsening

c. Symptoms are disruptive of regular activities.

5. Going to the hospital than a clinic or the barangay health center is preferred when:

a. Hospital admission is predicted based on symptoms;

b. Vital functions are threatened;

c. There is extreme change in physical condition and appearance;

d. There is excessive debilitating pain;

e. When symptoms are disabling.

7. The family and the immediate community are able to shoulder the brunt of health management in times of illness.

8. Low cost medical facilities are most patronized by the participants, particularly, the barangay health center, home clinics, and nearby public hospitals for more serious medical cases.

9. Business model should provide the following values:

a. Affordability

b. Competence of doctors and medical staff/efficacy of treatment

c. Convenience

d. Sense of care

e. Ambience

f. Prior knowledge and experiences

g. Health knowledge

h. Sense of belongingness and language used

i. Sense of control

j. Hiyangness