AI is Changing Healthcare

What does it mean for us as communicators?

By: Chelsea Schmitz and Valerie Wunder  

A few weeks ago, we attended the Ohio HealthTech Summit in Cleveland, Ohio. Many topics were discussed, but it’s clear there’s one thing on all healthcare leaders' minds: artificial intelligence (AI). 

As communicators, we can’t avoid it. AI is here to stay, and it’s rapidly changing our world. We could go on forever about using AI in the communications industry, but instead, we want to dig into how we can communicate about AI on behalf of our organizations. 

Keep reading for our major takeaways on how communicators can prepare to support the AI technology evolution.

1. What's your company's AI story?

Your immediate response might be, “We don’t have one.” However, AI is rapidly transforming industries like healthcare, agriculture, financial services and more. It may not be front and center, but your organization is probably already using AI or planning to strategically deploy AI technology to improve efficiency. 

And, as a communicator, you need to have a seat at the table. You can start by asking questions about where and how your organization is using AI — consider talking to people in operations, finance, and customer service. It’s important to not only understand current and future implementations but also policies and governance. Once you start uncovering details, you can chart a communications strategy.

2. We need to increase our AI literacy.

If we’re going to communicate about it, we need to understand it. Let's start with a basic glossary of terms: 

  • AI: the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior
  • Machine Learning: the process by which a computer is able to improve its own performance (as in analyzing image files) by continuously incorporating new data into an existing statistical model
  • Big Data: an accumulation of data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools
  • IoT: The Internet of Things is the networking capability that allows information to be sent to and received from objects and devices (such as fixtures and kitchen appliances) using the internet

As communications professionals, we must increase our AI literacy. We can read articles, books and online resources or take it further and enroll in online AI-related courses to gain a deeper understanding of the technology.

By staying up-to-date on trends, collaborating with industry leaders and embracing a continuous learning outlook, we can set ourselves to be a better partner for our organizations.

3. We will play a role in how the audience perceives AI.

We get it, change is hard. And AI is being met with a lot of warranted and necessary skepticism. 

As communicators, we will help shape how our target audiences think and feel about the use of AI (or lack thereof) by our organizations. We must push for transparency. We must be able to explain what, why and how while articulating the guardrails and protocols we’re taking to mitigate risk and ensure safety when using AI. We’ll also need to be prepared to address questions and misconceptions about AI. 

AI is here to stay. Communicators are at the forefront of both explaining and facilitating acceptance of AI technology and its impact. If you're interested in learning more, check out our blog post on how ChatGPT could transform your PR strategies.