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HELP CHINESE ALLERGY SUFFERERS TO FIND ADAPTED CARE PATHWAYS

For: A leading pharmaceutical company
While at: DCA
Role:  User researcher lead, (planning and executing the research program from project planning through delivery). I provided support for storyboard/video creation in order to deliver a compelling consumer narrative.
Challenge

A leading pharmaceutical company came to DCA as they wished to build their allergy product portfolio into the emerging Chinese market.  The lack of awareness and understanding of the allergy condition in China is driving 72% of misdiagnoses per year. Many of the patient do not receive appropriate support to understand their condition and find a suitable drug. 

To implement a truly inclusive solution and to uncover drivers for lack of awareness of the allergy condition, we needed to understand not only the sufferers’ need but also the channels in which they seek care, how it affect their and purchase decision and the cultural subtleties that makes the Chinese healthcare system so unique. 

"I’m like a fly without a head bumping into things”
Mother of a 9 year old sufferer - after diagnosis
Approach

From the discovery of the condition to the use/swap of a drug, we searched for insights & opportunities to re-fame what innovation means for this category. The initial data review identified many knowledge gaps within the consumer journey.  To create specific interventions to reach Chinese consumers, a stage of in-market ethnographic research was undertaken in Beijing to explore the key moments and contexts of the consumer journey and explore the specific retail context.
Experiencing The Chinese Healthcare System
- China is the one of the only country where 2 healthcare philosophies exist in parallel and where many people follow traditional beliefs. We visited traditional and western hospitals, shared a tea with the local acupuncture doctor, and sat through the allergy diagnosis process to observe and record behaviours within context to find education specific opportunities within the journey.
Understand Strength And Format Perception Through The Eyes Of Extreme Users
- To grasp the habits and usage that goes with taking allergy medication, we recruited a wide range of users, from sufferers using traditional medicine (TCM) only to those using a wider system of medication with different strength.TCM is seen as curing the root cause, and western medicine as a quick fix: this helped us better understand the perception and role of certain format type, and build an inclusive product platform
Opportunity

The opportunity laid into redesigning a holistic experience of allergy treatments for Chinese consumers, by providing interventions which help raise awareness of the condition, thus empowering sufferers to make informed decisions about their ongoing healthcare.
Outcome

We gave the tool necessary for the business to assert themselves as a trustworthy expert to increase the brand’s penetration in the market: 
- By maximizing the role of drug formats, we set re-positioning of a ‘cure-all’ brand from the US market for a damage limitation mindset in China across a tiered portfolio of innovations.

- By providing multi-channel support through communication design, and a new app, we help users to take appropriate measures to manage allergies, find the right strength of drug for their condition, and reduce the trial and error of various medication.