|Written by Richard Watson|
|Sunday, 01 July 2012 02:04|
Supermarkets have used precision marketing using sophisticated social segmentation techniques for years to help them decide where to build stores to achieve maximum impact. Now heath planners are targeting those local communities most in need of testing or ‘intervention’ using the technique.
The process has been pioneered in the UK by a healthcare information company called Dr Foster, market research firm Experian, and the Department of Health. The process can be used to target specific streets, schools and workplaces. For example, a campaign in Slough targeted individuals most in need of screening for type-2 diabetes. Of the 2000 people identified using social categorisation, 106 were discovered to be undiagnosed type-2 sufferers. A similar campaign in Brent targeted teenage pregnancy. However, while such techniques are undoubtedly effective what is the cost in terms of privacy? For example, health services are already targeting people that aren’t yet ill but whose profile suggests that they will be in the future. This is spookily reminiscent of the Department of Future Crimes in the film ‘The Matrix’. Or another example: What if alcoholism or lung cancer was found to be a specific problem in one community. Should the government act to remove products like alcohol and tobacco from local shops in the area? (like they already do in some parts of Australia).
Ref: the times (UK) 10 December 2005, ‘Mapping a future revolution’, S. Crompton. www.timesonline.co.uk
|Last Updated on Thursday, 19 July 2012 07:05|