May 2009

This ethnographic study focused on how the uninsured and underinsured in Los Angeles integrate health, wellness and healthcare practices in their daily lives. Insights from in-home interviews and participant observation included: 1) that access to technology alone does not increase navigation ability or activity; 2) health knowledge does not necessarily translate to behaviors that promote health; 3) trust lends legitimacy to navigation paths; 4) healthcare legitimacy is built primarily through social networks. In addition to insights leading to recommendations for navigation tool(s), the study found that most informants did not have a framework for wellness outside healthcare, suggesting that a wellness brand may better serve the public if it existed outside known hospital or medical systems.