Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being touted as a solution to just about everything. We’re seeing its use in hospitals on the clinical side, but what is the promise for hospital communicators? Is it a valuable new resource in our toolbox or just the shiny new object? We’d argue that it’s neither – AI is not just a tool and it’s certainly not something fleeting.

Wondering how AI might help your organization? Start with a problem and then determine what data would be needed to solve it. We’ve researched how AI is currently being used and discussed its implications for communicators in the future. This is our top five list of how hospital communicators should be considering the use of AI:

1.Predicting and responding faster to crises

AI has the ability to help organizations identify and prepare for emerging crises. By analyzing social posts, it can spot patterns, determine sentiment, and even factor in the level of influence of the person posting.

Response time is improved as AI can provide automated team notifications in real-time as potential problems arise and can even generate automated responses.  

2. Delivering better metrics

Communicators are increasingly being asked to demonstrate ROI. Sometimes we can identify a direct link from a media story or a social post about a specific procedure to a patient appointment made. However, it’s not always that easy, especially with thought leadership and brand building communications activities. Here’s where AI comes in. AI technology can aggregate and analyze communications work and help identify the most effective activities.

3. Automating formulaic tasks

I have a former colleague who used to use the term, “the damn dailiness” to describe the everyday activities that you have to do. AI can help communicators avoid the damn dailiness and elevate their role by using machine learning to generate first drafts of items like standard press releases or updating media lists.

4. Sharing personalized content

Hospitals deliver content to both internal and external stakeholders on owned platforms, but we know that these stakeholders are all quite different. AI is helping organizations determine which content to show to individuals based upon various data, including their behavior on social media. New tools leverage insights to select what news and stories to deliver to individuals who visit your intranet or website. The choices that the person makes when they interact with that content then helps the system learn more about their interests and improve the personalization.

5. Identifying deceptive content

“Deepfake” videos combine and superimpose images onto source images using machine learning. The risk to organizations is that your spokespeople may be manipulated via AI to say or do something controversial. Now, AI is helping to solve the problem that it caused. Last week Google released several thousand deepfake videos to help researchers build new tools using AI that help spot altered videos that could have a negative impact. In this upcoming election year, we can only expect deepfake videos to get better. Organizations need to get ahead of the curve and identify AI partners who can invalidate videos featuring manipulated content (add this one to your crisis preparedness plan).

AI isn’t a panacea for every problem, and not every organization is ready for it from a resource perspective. But that doesn’t mean you should wait to talk about it. Now is the time to gather your team, discuss which tasks are consuming a lot of time, and determine if they can be solved with AI. It’s also a good time to assess potential AI partners, because you don’t have to think through this on your own. Then again – you might be able to wait a few years and just let a machine take care of it for you.

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