Paolo Borromeo – Healthcare Innovation in Action

“Fundamental gaps of access, affordability and quality persist for millions of Filipinos.”

Published on May 24, 2018


IN FULFILLING THE GOAL of the VITAL Healthcare Marketing Conference to provide an innovation mindset for healthcare marketers, it was vital – no pun intended – to have an example of what innovation actually looks like in real-world application. Paolo Borromeo, CEO, Ayala Healthcare Holdings, presented a compelling case for such innovative approaches through the case study of the FamilyDOC Primary Care Clinic.

Early on, Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc (ACHealth) recognized that “fundamental gaps of access, affordability and quality persist for millions of Filipinos,” in the healthcare arena. After conducting studies to identify what patients really needed, they determined that:

  • Over 40% of middle-lower income patients hadn’t been to a doctor in over a year
  • Patients generally spend for healthcare out of their pocket, rather than through a provider
  • Lack of facilities and professionals, impersonal service, and long waiting times are major quality concerns

To address these, ACHealth created FamilyDOC, a series of primary care clinics, each of which acts as a service clinic, diagnostics center, and pharmacy all under one roof. Each FamilyDOC outlet has 2-3 doctors, and is characterized by lower overall cost than most private clinics, free followups, free lifetime memberships with discounts for other services, and excellent equipment acquired through a GE partnership at lower cost. FamilyDOC outlets are built around the fringes of Greater Metro Manila, to help address issues of accessibility.

The goal of FamilyDOC is to ensure that there is competent, appropriate and consistent care across the clinic network – any time you walk into a FamilyDOC clinic, you’re assured of the same quality as any other branch. To do this, primary care physicians train under the Family Medicine Residency program, working for 3 years to ensure a certain level of competence. There’s also a rigorous customer service training program, designed to inculcate a deep service mindset for every employee and address the issue of impersonal service that plague many other healthcare providers.

In addition, FamilyDOC makes use of the Vigos Electronic Medical Record and Clinical Information System, whose benefits don’t end with patient records – the data can be used to monitor health outcomes, incidence rates, and even contribute to epidemiological studies.

Today there are over 26 clinics and over 90,000 unique patients benefiting from the FamilyDOC system. They’ve recently expanded their services to include a reloadable health card, free doctor consultation and screening for hypertension and diabetes, and a brand-new 2D echo service. The goal for FamilyDOC is to end the year with over 50 clinics across 9 clusters.

Borromeo closed the talk with his three most important learning points, after embarking on this quest for innovation: First, that innovation starts with the voice of the customer; second, that there’s no perfect formula for innovation, and it’s a continuous process that requires a long-term view and patience; and finally, that the most powerful and fulfilling innovations are those that serve the underserved, and improve the lives of Filipinos.


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