AI Roadmap

The AI Roadmap – charting our future in healthcare communications

The Healthcare Communications Association’s (HCA’s) new position paper on AI was published in the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion (ICMO) on 4th October 2023. Developed in consultation with leading experts in the field, it discusses how we, as a healthcare communications profession, can, and should, unlock its potential; why waiting is not a viable strategy; and as we move towards embedding AI, the key principles that should guide our journey.

As one of the authors of the publication, Matt Lewis, Global Chief Artificial and Augmented Intelligence Officer, Inizio Medical, USA explained: “You really can't go anywhere without getting hit with some AI news or commentary about AI. So it is a really appropriate juncture to have the discussion this publication aims to catalyze.” He continued: “The AI Roadmap provides an initial consideration of where and how the sector should start, or continue, to engage with AI.” As co-author Elizabeth Mercer, Associate Director, PR, Langland, UK pointed out; AI has been making a significant impact in healthcare for many years already, but the rapid development and expansion of generative AI is what has catapulted the area into the mainstream: “AI has been making a significant contribution to pharmaceutical R&D for many years, but perhaps this has not been talked about as much, despite the amazing steps forward it has provided.” She continued: “Now within the communications role we all have a plethora of opportunities to engage with AI, we just need to ensure we do so responsibly, within sensible organizational guidelines.”

The AI Roadmap also explores where healthcare communications professionals may want to start interacting with generative AI in the workplace. Matt suggested: “You might want to start thinking about the things in your work that are mundane or time consuming and consider how AI maybe able to support those tasks, potentially increasing productivity and job satisfaction.” And as Matt pointed out, a watch and wait strategy is not a viable policy: “There is no doubt, those who adopt and embrace artificial intelligence are more likely to outmaneuver and outcompete someone that doesn't.”

The AI Roadmap has been developed by the HCA’s Foresight Committee, which is chaired by Board Member Rhiannon Meaden, Complete HealthVizion, IPG Health Medical Communications. Rhiannon outlined why AI fits into their mission: “Our mission in the Foresight Committee is to predict future trends in healthcare communications, and to help us as a professional sector, prepare for tomorrow.”

Mike Dixon, HCA CEO continued: “As the leading professional association for those working in healthcare communications, the publication marks another significant step in our work to support the sector. It represents intense work and commitment from our volunteer committees and working groups, for which we thank them on behalf of the HCA, and the sector as a whole.”

View the publication and watch or listen to the accompanying webinar, where the authors discuss and elaborate on the areas included in The AI Roadmap.

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