Researchers from Texas A&M, Iowa State University, Rice, and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center published a new paper in the Journal of Marketing, which examines the efficacy of patient marketing.
The study, forthcoming in the May issue of the Journal of Marketing, is titled “Improving Cancer Outreach Effectiveness Through Targeting and Economic Assessments: Insights from a Randomized Field Experiment” and is authored by Yixing Chen, Ju-Yeon Lee, Shrihari Sridha, Vikas Mittal, and Amit G. Singal.
In 2018, over 1.7 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the United States and the cost of cancer care surpassed $147 billion. Many of these cases could have been prevented through regular cancer screening tests that open the door for early detection, more cost-effective treatment options, and better recovery prognosis. For example, regular screening reduces mortality rates for lung cancer by 28%, breast cancer by 24%, and liver cancer by 37%. Moreover, cancer screening can reduce the annual treatment cost for a patient by nearly $5,000.
Healthcare institutions rely on marketing interventions—or direct-to-patient outreach—to increase screening completion among at-risk patients. As an example, Johns Hopkins Hospital’s cancer center uses emails, letters, seminars, and community events to encourage screening completion among patients. Yet, according to a recent article in the LA Times, “just 4.2% of patients in the United States who are at high risk for lung cancer get screened for it—a figure seen as alarmingly low by those who work in the area of prevention.” Could it be that the 1.7 million outreach interventions launched in 2015 and $123 million spent on prevention and education efforts go to waste?
The research team used a multi-period randomized field experiment with at-risk patients for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of primary liver cancer. Patients were randomly