The association of area-level social class and tobacco use with adverse breast cancer characteristics among white and black women: evidence from Maryland, 1992–2003
In recent years, social marketing principles and techniques have featured at the heart of government proposals for improving health and tackling health inequalities. This, in part, has led to a shift in the type of information and intelligence needed to support service planning at all levels. In particular, there has been increasing interest in the use of commercial geodemographic classification systems. Despite the amount of activity and associated investment in this area, there is evidence of a real lack of understanding among users about the tools themselves, and the added value they are providing in the National Health Service. This paper describes some of the potential applications of geodemographic tools in the health sector, and explores issues for consideration when selecting or using a system. This paper also describes a potentially cost-effective and sustainable model for utilizing geodemographic tools as part of a regional insight function within the health service.