In Cancer As In Marketing, Segmentation and Differences May Hold the Key to Improved Results

One of the conference highlights of 2013 was certainly the Multicultural Health Marketing National Conference organized by DTC Perspectives. There, Dr. Otis W. Brawley, MD, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at the American Cancer Society presented an alarming fact: Differences in healthcare behaviors and treatments among segments is leading to increased deaths among Hispanics and African Americans.

One of the conference highlights of 2013 was certainly the Multicultural Health Marketing National Conference organized by DTC Perspectives. There, Dr. Otis W. Brawley, MD, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at the American Cancer Society presented an alarming fact: Differences in healthcare behaviors and treatments among segments is leading to increased deaths among Hispanics and African Americans.

As an example, Dr. Brawley presented a longitudinal analysis of breast cancer mortality rates from 1975-2010.  For white women, breast cancer mortality rates showed a steady decline from 32 to 22 deaths per 100,000 over 35 years ending in 2010.  In contrast, the breast cancer mortality rate for black women increased through 1996 and then began to decline but it ended at the same high rate (30 per 100,000) as in 1975.

Some studies show that disease outcomes are associated with education and socioeconomic levels but besides these there are other significant cultural and behavioral differences also impacting results.  In the 2003 book, Unequal Treatment, a panel of expert studies pointed to a variety of factors that contribute to healthcare racial and ethnic disparity, including:

  • Cultural mindset and environmental influences
  • Diet, exercise, obesity and tobacco use
  • Clinical behavior of providers and staff
  • Quality of healthcare
  • Health literacy
  • Access to electronic health information

The challenge still remains:  How can we provide adequate high quality care, including preventative care and disease management, to segments that historically have shown significant differences in outcomes?  In order to close the disease outcomes gaps, those working directly and indirectly in health care — providers, insurers, hospitals and clinics, community-based organizations — must commit to action now across several areas of focus:

  1. Segmentation – Recognize that segmentation is important when working and communicating with ethnic and multicultural segments
  2. Training in Nuances – Require practical, case-based, on-going continuing education training for providers to address the specific nuances of the growing multicultural segments in the U.S.
  3. Cultural Know-How – Integrate cultural competency curricula into the early medical training of front-line health care providers
  4. Targeted Disease Management – Provide culturally appropriate education programs to improve their knowledge and ability to participate in their own health care
  5. Staffing – Increase the number of racial and ethnic minorities among the health professionals, especially those treating minorities

In health outcomes as in marketing, the same foundation applies. To improve results it is essential to implement a Total Market approach that accurately infuses and responds to segment differences, in addition to similarities –up-front in the planning process.

About SSG
SSG is a growth consulting leader driven by management P&L experience, Big Data and predictive analytics. We develop fact-based business models, insights, customer experiences and roadmaps that profitably segment distinct customer groups and drive revenue. We help clients focus their limited resources where the highest ROI opportunities exist and customize strategies advancing efficient Total Market growth fueled by Millennial, Multicultural & Hispanics segments.

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