Not the usual journal I'd expect to see a social marketing article in. An unobtrusive indicator of social marketing's expanding reach and influence perhaps? An article in the latest issue describes a social marketing program conducted by the National Prescribing Service in Australia to improve physician prescription behaviors to treat and control high blood pressure.
A series of nationally implemented, multifaceted educational interventions using social marketing principles focusing on prescribing for hypertension, was commenced in October 1999, and repeated in September 2001and August 2003. The target group was all primary care prescribers in Australia and interventions were both active (voluntary) and passive. Newsletter and prescribing feedback was mailed in October 1999, September 2001 (newsletter only) and August 2003. Approximately a third of general practitioners (GPs) in Australia undertook at least one active educational activity (clinical audit, educational visit or case study) during the period October 1999-April 2004. National dispensing data from 1996 to 2004 were analysed using time series methodology with a decay term for intervention effect, to assess trends in prescribing of various classes of antihypertensives...Consistent with key intervention messages, the program achieved an increase in low-dose thiazide and beta blocker prescribing. Horn FE et al. Measurement of changes in antihypertensive drug utilisation following primary care educational interventions. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, April, 2006. [Abstract]
Social marketing programs with health care practitioners as the priority audience are as about as rare as those that focus on policy maker audiences. One of the first empirical studies on this subject employed social marketing to influence the practices of mental health professionals. It was also the first time I saw the explicit linking of social marketing with diffusion theory [Rothman et al, 1983; also discussed in this chapter].
If you're interested in programs that target prescribing behaviors, check the article by Perz et al in the June 19, 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (free registration and access for archive issues). Though they don't use the term 'social marketing,' this comprehensive community-based program aimed at health care practitioners, parents of young children and the public demonstrated significant reductions in pediatricians' antibiotic prescribing behaviors.