Carmel Farzaneh

Lean Data Discoveries: Dr. Consulta

June 2, 2017

By Masha Lisak and Carmel Farzaneh, Learning & Impact at Omidyar Network

Quem não se comunica se trumbica, or “he who doesn’t communicate, gets his fingers burnt.” This is the philosophy of the staff at Dr. Consulta, a network of outpatient medical centers making high-quality healthcare affordable for Brazilians. Since opening their first medical center in the “sun city” favela of Heliópolis, the team behind Dr. Consulta has done their best to communicate with their patients and to integrate feedback into their operations.

Dr. Consulta staff knew that the more direct feedback they received from patients, the better they would be able to develop their services. For example, the network sends out SMS surveys immediately after a visit to one of its medical centers that allow patients to rate their experience on a scale of 1–10. Patients who rate their experience as lower than an 8 receive follow-up messages inquiring about how the medical center can improve its services.

These daily insights were important, but with their thoughts fixed on future growth, the team at Dr. Consulta hummed with questions: what did a customer’s journey really look like? What was important to them? How did their services compare to others? Was the price too high? What would help them to retain the patients they had while they expanded across São Paulo? While their existing practices provided some feedback, they needed another way to answer these questions.

It was at this moment of questioning that Rafa de la Guía, a member of Omidyar Network’s investment team, contacted them offering support in the form of a Lean Data Project with Acumen. This project would apply experimentation principles to gather social performance data directly from customers by utilizing low-cost technology. Keeping pace with Dr. Consulta’s efficient medical services, the Lean Data Project had the potential to offer specific insights into the desires of their patients in a relatively short time.

For Jorge Tung, the Chief Product Officer at Dr. Consulta, it was just what they needed at just the right time.

At the start of the project, Dr. Consulta had a hypothesis that patients valued their relationships with doctors very highly. They also assumed that price was the most important factor to patient retention since low cost was one of their outstanding features.

Working remotely, Acumen facilitated the preparation, collection, and interpretation of information about Dr. Consulta’s customers and their journey through a medical visit. They reached out through an online survey to 47,000 email addresses and received 1,130 high quality responses. They also conducted 207 in-depth phone interviews with patients who did not have email addresses to check a potential online-bias.

The insights that poured in were informative. As it turned out, only those with chronic diseases that required ongoing treatment placed an emphasis on their relationship with doctors. Those coming in for check-ups and those who had one-off health issues rated availability and efficiency of service more highly.

The Lean Data team also found that patients valued the quality experience, with 87% of respondents saying that Dr. Consulta has contributed positively to quality of life and 86% saying it is good value for the money — another motivating insight.

The process of reaching out helps Dr. Consulta stay connected to their patients. One remarked, “The satisfaction survey after finishing the treatment, this makes us feel important and special.”

In a nation that boasts free healthcare but still leaves 100 million people without access, Dr. Consulta’s expansion is critical to providing lower-to middle-class Brazilians with quality, affordable medical care. Having a deeper understanding of their patients’ behavioral drivers reenergized the team at Dr. Consulta, and the learnings gleaned from the Lean Data project are being implemented into their growth plans.

Designed specifically for social enterprises, Lean Data helps build more impactful businesses by providing them with data on their social performance, customer feedback, and behavior. Lean Data uses low-cost technology and methods to gather high-quality data quickly and efficiently. Find out more hereand take their free +Acumen Lean Data online course.


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