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'Long tail' thinking can help eliminate health disparities

Date:
October 23, 2014
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
“Long tail” thinking in public health might yield greater progress in eliminating health disparities, according to a new study. The long tail strategy is one many new businesses employ, recognizing that selling small quantities of many niche items can be more profitable than selling a few blockbuster items.
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"Long tail" thinking in public health might yield greater progress in eliminating health disparities, according to a new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

The long tail strategy is one many new businesses employ, recognizing that selling small quantities of many niche items can be more profitable than selling a few blockbuster items.

The concept was popularized in Chris Anderson's 2006 book, "The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More."

Researchers from the Brown School's Health Communication Research Laboratory (HCRL) and Social Systems Design Lab examined data from more than 500 health agencies in 47 states who used the HCRL's Make It Your Own (MIYO) system to create small media and client reminders that promoted colorectal cancer (CRC) screening.

MIYO products in the long tail were significantly more likely to target racial and ethnic minorities with higher rates of CRC and lower rates of screening, researchers found.

"Long tail thinking and advances in technology have opened a promising new path to achieve progress for vulnerable populations," said lead author, Matthew W. Kreuter, PhD, associate dean for public health at the Brown School, the Kahn Family Professor of Public Health and senior scientist in the HCRL.

"In fact, long tail thinking could help improve the public's health and eliminate disparities," said Kreuter, who also is a scholar in the university's Institute for Public Health.

The findings were published online Oct. 16 in the American Journal of Public Health.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Matthew W. Kreuter, Peter Hovmand, Debbie J. Pfeiffer, Maggie Fairchild, Suchitra Rath, Balaji Golla, Chris Casey. The “Long Tail” and Public Health: New Thinking for Addressing Health Disparities. American Journal of Public Health, 2014; e1 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302039

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Washington University in St. Louis. "'Long tail' thinking can help eliminate health disparities." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141023193355.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2014, October 23). 'Long tail' thinking can help eliminate health disparities. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 18, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141023193355.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "'Long tail' thinking can help eliminate health disparities." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141023193355.htm (accessed June 18, 2024).

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