Friday 28 July 2023,
by Andy Stafford

The healthcare industry, still grappling with numerous challenges that have been growing for years, and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, stands at the precipice -even if unwillingly- of transformation, a transition enforced by circumstance, but enabled by technology.

The key to this transformation lies in artificial intelligence (AI) and its tremendous potential to help unlock potential and create solutions that simply could not have existed prior to the new generative AI tools such as Chat.gpt that launched in late 2022. Chat.gpt, along with a handful of other LLM (large language model) chatbots, and an absolute tsunami of tools and applications emerging from and with them, are the most recent and certainly the most accessible and impactful advances in AI’s 40 or so year history, and have some profound implications.

Perhaps it wasn’t as inevitable as it now appears, but ‘Generative AI’ has taken the world by storm. Chat.gpt which is probably, deservedly, the most recognisable, is officially the fastest-growing platform ever. We’ve all seen the comparative growth rate graphs of the growth of print, radio, tv, web, and then latterly social web platforms Facebook, and Instagram, for instance, but ChatGPT, which crossed 1 million users just 5 days after launch, gained 100 million active users by January 2023 making it the fastest growing platform in history.

At 'nitro digital', we've built our reputation as a leading digital agency working within health, providing innovative marketing and communication services to our clients from pharma and the wider life sciences to government and health tech start-ups. Now, we're set to harness the power of AI, augmenting our capabilities and experience to cultivate a new era of solutions that harness the generative, predictive, and prescriptive power of AI as chat.gpt and others, which will continually improve, becoming ever more powerful.

So, in the same way, that many health businesses will have been exploring (perhaps with some urgency) to create or enhance their existing clinical tools to leverage AI in order to accelerate drug discovery or enable data to be interpreted more effectively to augment their business model, for instance, nitro, and every agency and consultancy will be exploring how we can use AI tools to benefit clients.

For Nitro Digital our focus will be on how we can leverage the main LLMs and the niche tools and platforms to enhance our client’s marketing, communications, and engagement assets and tools. In terms of both their direct benefit and the indirect benefit to their patients, customers, healthcare professionals, and wider stakeholders.

We have always advocated and leveraged the use of technology to accelerate positive change to not only test, learn and improve marketing and development practice outputs but ultimately to deliver measurable outcomes that impact the ultimate health outcomes.

At the start of our business journey, it was as simple as advocating the use of digital web tools to reach and engage stakeholders who were spending more time online. I say easy, but the health industry, wearing its regulatory straightjacket a little more tightly than it needs to, has never been the bravest in experimentation outside of the laboratory. Nevertheless, the design and production of websites and apps were quickly supplemented by advertising and promotion, before leveraging social media for discussion, games, and gamification, through to exploration of the potential benefits of Web3, all in an effective but compliant manner.

This technology and its application, of course, is just a list of stuff, and not relevant or useful on its own. It has to be guided to deliver an outcome that is guided by proper research and strategy prior to the adoption of a user-focused approach to design and implementation. The advent of accessible useable AI will be no exception. It’s not magic, yet. Instead, it will enable us to develop better digital and marketing strategies and provide new ways to implement digital effectively to reach and engage stakeholders online.

AI isn't just an upgrade though, it's a game-changer. And, I really believe that this completely over-used phrase is the right one to use this time, for digital transformation in every industry, not just health, and with wider ramifications for society.

Our vision for AI in healthcare for our clients is clear: we envisage a future where we empower our clients to engage with their audiences more effectively with the following three AI service offerings: 

  1. Leveraging the best of the already bewildering range of AI tools, and being able to master their use, to help us deliver our digital reach and engagement services more impactfully and efficiently

  2. Directly leveraging the power of the LLM AI chatbots such as chat.gpt to develop tools and solutions that go well beyond the usual marketing communication deliverables to enhance personalization, decision-making, and overall healthcare experiences within marketing and communications to potentially transform business

  3. Guide clients on using AI to support their own wider digital research, marketing, and development efforts

We are also experimenting with the development of our own tools too as experiments in services, and enhancements in automation and productivity.

At 'nitro', we're known for our commitment to experimentation in web and digital innovation within the health industry. It’s coded into our DNA. Applying technology to deliver better health outcomes is what motivates us. In fact, our purpose is to ‘bridge the gap to healthier lives’. Over the years we have done everything from the very early use of Pay Per Click (PPC) for pharma (pre-2010!) to paving the way for the use of YouTube to share videos on cancer and the creation of a scientific cardiovascular community on Facebook, creating and developing the concept of drug discovery and distribution into a fun isometric 2.5d game that integrated with Facebook and Twitter, tackling behavior change with apps in ADHD and rare disease with tracking with visualisation, a heart rate monitoring application using the iPhone (before the Apple Watch came along), through to mode-of-action animations, value calculators, treatment and titration tools, a stunning audio visualization tool, infographics, corporate videos and much more.

But AI is different. We view AI as a superpower, one that offers the transformative potential to overcome healthcare communication challenges and turn them into opportunities for growth and innovation that help to tackle some of the numerous challenges faced by the industry.

Our goal is to leverage the best AI tools and develop solutions that revolutionize stakeholder reach, and engagement, and enable behavior change in healthcare communications and continue to do what we have been doing, but better. AI presents perhaps an unprecedented opportunity to push the boundaries further.

The AI revolution has arrived, and Nitro is committed to embracing it. Join us as we step into this new era, an era where we take the power of the web to new heights. It's about leveraging this powerful new ‘tool’ as we always look upon new tools - with an innovative spirit, a focused approach, and a commitment to our clients. Discover more about how 'nitro' is unlocking AI's potential in healthcare marketing and communications by visiting our website. This is a journey of innovation like no other. Don't just watch it unfold; be a part of it. Get in touch!