Michael Byrnes
By Michael Byrnes on May 15, 2024

Five essential elements for healthcare companies to consider when telling AI innovation stories

This last year was monumental for AI in healthcare. From hands-free charting to detailed and documented patient visits to using AI to identify signs of diseases within retinal scans, how AI is being used in healthcare is extraordinary. 

With all the interest and attention on AI, audiences are inundated with news stories and tech articles. The healthcare industry is well positioned to take advantage of a captive audience, yet many companies struggle with how to craft narratives and stories around AI that resonate. Our experts studied media trends at the nexus of healthcare and AI to better understand the types of stories companies are telling and uncovered five essential elements of stories that breakthrough. Let’s explore.

Storytelling in AI: What’s trending

Our research indicated two storytelling trends in AI and healthcare. The first centered around stories that discussed how best practices are implemented and followed.

The second trend is that partnerships between tech companies, academic hospitals, and research institutions lend more credibility to ongoing studies regarding how AI can be implemented in the healthcare field.

As the story around innovation in healthcare continues to take shape, reporters are hungry for detailed examples that highlight true investment from organizations, and not just an attempt to capitalize on the attention.

For companies to break through in this space, these five elements are critical to consider when developing messaging. 

Highlight patient- and provider-centric benefits

Emphasize how AI can improve patient care and diagnosis accuracy, lead to more personalized treatments, faster drug discovery and development, and improve overall patient outcomes. This is critical information on several fronts as recent data indicates 60% of Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of providers using AI. While it’s tempting to go into the weeds on technology, stories should focus on the human impact of AI and explain the concrete benefits of AI for both patients and providers.

Key learning: include real-world examples and data showing AI leading to better health outcomes

Showcase collaborations and endorsements

Stories on AI partnerships in healthcare garnered 5x the media coverage in 2023 as they did in 2022 according to a Muck Rack data pull. 

A recent example is the partnership between NVIDIA and Johnson & Johnson MedTech. The two powerhouses are collaborating to integrate AI into surgery which resulted in widespread media coverage, including CNBC and FierceBiotech

Additionally, care.ai, an AI-powered care facility automation platform, and Virtua Health, an academic non-profit healthcare system, announced an enterprise-wide partnership to offer AI-powered offerings, including a network of sensors spread throughout the care facilitate to monitor patients and enable the facility to collect real-time behavior data for clinical and operational insights.  

Key learning: credibility is key

Demonstrate continuous learning and improvement

In 2023, AI storytelling in healthcare moved from hypothetical to concrete, for example, the use of AI to detect postpartum depression early or detecting cancer with a few drops of blood.  We’re also seeing this take shape within innovative companies, like Google’s DeepMind, a next-generation AI system solving some of the most difficult scientific and engineering challenges, tapping AI to learn and improve on healthcare operations continuously. Google DeepMind recently proposed a new AI model called AMIE (Articulate Medical Intelligence Explorer) that would take information from patients and learn how to diagnose them.  

Key learning: Audiences want to understand approaches, learnings, and successes in layman’s terms

Address ethical and societal implications

We discovered that audiences want to learn more about the positive outcomes of using AI in healthcare settings and they care about ethical considerations, privacy concerns, and especially coded biases. Coded biases are defined as an element unintentionally programmed into an AI algorithm, according to Nature.

AI algorithms, while they may appear neutral,” can lack total impartiality and potentially exacerbate biases and worsen discriminating ideologies, as the state of Oregon discovered. The state pulled the plug on an AI algorithm that meant to identify families with potential child welfare concerns. And, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon University, an algorithm used to identify potential child neglect in Pennsylvania disproportionately flagged Black families for investigation. 

This begs the question: How is your company addressing potential ethical and coded bias concerns in healthcare settings? And how can you alleviate the worries and concerns your audience likely has?

The media can quickly amplify failures or shortcomings in healthcare AI, as evidenced in Nature and the Associated Press’s reporting. Thorough evaluation and honest, responsible stories centered on patient benefits build long-term trust and interest. 

Your media relations team can help educate your audience about your organization’s responsible use of AI to help combat—not exacerbate—health disparities. One of the most important things your team can display, as evidenced by unintended coded biases, is inclusion and equity whenever using AI models.

Key learning: Detail the steps the company is taking to address ethical concerns and combat coded bias to ensure AI solutions promote health equity – audiences want to know your AI promotes good

Discuss the future and ongoing research

When sharing AI innovation stories with your audience, speak about AI’s future potential and how it’s expected to evolve over the coming months and years. Detail how AI currently meets and, in the future, will evolve to serve the needs of patients, providers, and payors. Explain your roadmap for the future how your organization is incorporating AI in healthcare and your organization’s continuing research plans. Sharing your intimate knowledge shows your organization’s commitment to innovation and long-term improvement of the healthcare system.

Key learning: sharing your roadmap can help you highlight your long-term commitment to innovation.

Dos and Dont’s in AI storytelling

Now that we know what’s top of mind for media, below are critical considerations on how to craft your AI message:

  • DON’T overstate capabilities. Don’t promise more than your technology can realistically deliver at the current stage. Be transparent about limitations.
  • DO validate your results. Be sure you have rigorously validated the performance of AI systems, as reporters may ask pointed questions about accuracy and effectiveness compared to the status quo.
  • DO proactively address biases. Take steps to address coded bias by thoroughly evaluating algorithms for impartiality across patient demographics. A lack of health equity guardrails can sink an AI program’s reputation.
  • DO commit to ongoing improvements. Demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement of AI models over time rather than positioning systems as “one and done.” Reporters are always on the lookout for blind spots.
  • DO establish trust early on. Discuss involvement and endorsements from reputable third parties like academic institutions or physicians. Credibility is mandatory.

Improve and strengthen your reputation with Highwire

We’ll continue to track how AI stories in healthcare develop this year. At Highwire, we help healthcare clients tell their innovation stories to expand reach, improve reputation, and reach important stakeholders.

Learn more about how we help healthcare clients tell their innovation stories or get in touch to learn how we can support your organization.

Published by Michael Byrnes May 15, 2024
Michael Byrnes