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The future of ChatGPT and AI in healthcare marketing

The future of ChatGPT and AI in healthcare marketing

No, ChatGPT didn't write this

The telephone. The personal computer. And now, ChatGPT? There are some technologies that have turned the world on its head, and AI/ML implementations like ChatGPT look like the next advancement that will change the way our world works. This revolution will impact many industries — but due to regulatory requirements, healthcare is notoriously slow to change when it comes to technology (as your doctor's office fax machine can attest). That means savvy healthcare marketers have a long runway to get ahead of this new technology.

Machine learning is doing more than talk the talk

AI and machine learning have moved from watercooler talk (you know, those chats that happen in the slack channels where the developers and nerds like to hang out) to the boardroom. And the buzz is all around ChatGPT and the potential implications for healthcare marketers. 

While ChatGPT itself is new to the scene, it’s built on technology that's been around for years, leveraging a dialogue interface with natural language processing and artificial intelligence to learn users' needs and wants. While we love to nerd out on the technology behind it all, this blog isn't entirely about the technical aspects of ChatGPT. Our goal is to provide an understanding of how it will impact the healthcare industry, healthcare marketers' roles in making AI work for your organization, and how to set yourself up for success. Let's be real; no one wants to be like that person still pushing yellow pages ads in 2023. 

The BIG picture of ChatGPT’s impact on healthcare 

Like we said, the healthcare industry is slow when it comes to implementing change. Still, whether it’s ChatGPT or some other machine learning or artificial intelligence, this technology will significantly change the healthcare industry. Here are a few long-term, big-picture ways this technology could impact the healthcare world:

  • Healthcare Research: Machine learning’s ability to dig through large-scale data quickly and identify trends or correlations will be highly fruitful in clinical research. It will also be able to support the delivery of care and identify commonalities impacting capacity, error rates, or readmission rates. However, these insights can only make a real impact when filtered through a human lens — which can turn these data points into actionable insights. Just imagine being able to look back at your system’s last 12 months and identify trends in volumes, case types, and referrals. This would allow you to build a marketing strategy for the upcoming year with much more precision. 
  • The New Navigator: Over the last two years, healthcare has struggled with a mass exodus of professionals due to the pandemic and the aging workforce. Down the road, machine learning and ChatGPT could be the new symptom checker that uses a more dialogue-friendly tone that patients prefer. Clinical expertise is not something anyone wants to entrust to a machine, but it can have a place in making sure patients are navigating to the right clinician or office, given their health concerns.
  • Content Machine: If you've been in healthcare long enough, you've probably leveraged some kind of shared content library like Adam, which outlines basic medical components like risk factors, conditions, and treatments. The challenge with these tools? The same content used on your website is also on hundreds of other health systems' sites across the internet, too. There's strong potential to train machine learning on your organization's tone of voice and have it write the mundane content you need — which can be edited for validity — in a tone that aligns with the rest of your website. This leaves extra time for creating more personalized content.

While these possibilities are exciting, machine learning and AI have a lot of hurdles to overcome. We expect to see regulations placed on AI/ML and tools like ChatGPT, not unlike what we saw with influencers on Instagram. Similarly to requirements for noting sponsored posts, we imagine articles and content authored by ChatGPT will have to be indicated as such. 

Additionally, in a world with constant conversations around fake news and misinformation, any AI or ML that leverages the world wide web as its learning ground will have to produce some annotation of sources. This will be necessary for assuring patients they can trust the information they’re getting.

What you can do NOW to prepare for ChatGPT

From the content mentioned above, you may think we’re Team ChatGPT and ML/AI — and don’t get us wrong, we do love it — but our recommendations are based on experiences with new-age technology that quickly fizzled out. For this reason, we recommend four things that can set you up for success in this next technological revolution. The bonus is that these efforts will also have HUGE benefits in the present.

  • Refresh Your Wikipedia: While Wikipedia probably hasn’t been a part of your content strategy in recent years, it's time to do a bit of spring cleaning. ChatGPT in particular was trained heavily on Wikipedia because of its comprehensive nature as a free, common "source" of knowledge. Ensuring your Wikipedia content is up to date — and fully inclusive of all locations and key services — will allow future tools to accurately represent your organization in their dialogue interface. Furthermore, this will significantly impact your search engine rankings, so even if ChatGPT doesn't become the new go-to tool for patients in the future, you can build equity in what they are leveraging today through search engines. 
  • Invest in Schema: Like Wikipedia, your website content is something AI/ML will leverage and continue to "learn" from. And while we have auditory or visual learners in the human world, AI/ML's preferred learning style is schema markup, which makes it easier for it to understand and classify information quickly. While investing in content has always been a priority for establishing marketing dominance, this new frontier of AI/ML will make the structured language behind the scenes potentially more valuable than the content itself. And if you needed further reason to invest in this, a study showed that websites with schema markup, on average, rank four positions higher on search results than websites that do not have it.
  • Curate Higher Level Content: While ChatGPT and other AI/ML tools can create content, a premium will be placed on types of content that ChatGPT can't ever produce (well, at least for now). Since many of these tools learn through scanning the web, there is an inevitable delay. This means new content, like clinical trials and research, is something consumers will continue to leverage your hospital website for. Additionally, many of these tools currently focus on broader content that's applicable across large regions, so lean into the locality of what you do and the communities you serve. Finally, something that we don't think any AI/ML — including ChatGPT — can replicate is the innate trust that people have in doctors — or what can be conveyed in a conversation with intuition and tone — which can only really come through in video or audio content forms. So invest in building content that speaks to the "new" within your service offerings, make sure the content you are developing connects to the local community, create more video and audio or podcasts, and finally, let your physicians grab the mic as their experience and trustworthiness can't be replicated.
  • Invest in CDP: Everyone has spent the last five years investing in CRMs, but a CDP (or Customer Database Platform) that allows technology to truly create a personalized digital experience for patients is what should be on your radar. A CDP is a central repository or data warehouse that allows you to create custom online experiences, based on what you know about an audience. The ability to amplify the commonalities within your owned patient opt-in data through AI/ML will allow you to truly harness the power of a CDP. You could even run tests that currently require significant strategic work and rule set creation. Regardless of the future of AI/ML, everyone can agree that cookies and some third-party data are on their way out, so building your own organization's data is more critical than ever.

While ChatGPT is the latest buzzword in your boardroom, we think the strategies above can show your leadership team that you're leaning into new technology without feeling like you have to put all your eggs in the latest shiny-object basket. 

And given ChatGPT is a free platform (for now), the best way to understand its implications is to take it for a test drive. It might help you take some of those mundane tasks off your plate, like writing a job description or giving you a jumping-off point for some great content. Because let's be real — you have more than enough to fill your plate. So why not try it?

This is just the beginning

DECODE was founded to help remove the smoke and mirrors from technology and the digital world, enabling healthcare organizations to find more efficient and effective ways to reach their audience. To live out that mission, we’ll be producing a series that dives deep into the implications of ChatGPT, AI and machine learning, and how to prepare for tomorrow, today. Stay tuned here for more discussions around this exciting, up-and-coming technology!

And if you can’t wait for more?

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