Home Navigating the future of AI: Insights from EphMRA’s one day meeting in London

Navigating the future of AI: Insights from EphMRA’s one day meeting in London

4 mins read

Authored by: Ellie Forde and Mark Braund, Directors

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the world of healthcare has opened new frontiers in medical research, patient care, and now in market research. Attending the 2024 UK One Day EphMRA meeting in London on this evolving topic provided thoughtful insights into how AI technologies are not just augmenting, but fundamentally starting to change in how we run healthcare market research. This summary delves into the key themes, innovations, and presentations from a range of experts in the field, offering a glimpse into the future of healthcare market research.

The promise of AI in healthcare market research

The conference opened with a forward-looking session around how market research might look in 2034. We were taken on a journey about how AI could impact our daily lives, work, education and societal structures. In particular, the role of human decision-making in an age where AI could potentially diminish human autonomy. One key insight was the projection that human-centered data might become a niche and expensive commodity as synthetic data takes precedence in market research findings. This raises questions about the value of authentic human insight in an increasingly automated world.

Innovations and emerging trends

The next couple of sessions were dedicated to showcasing practical applications of AI to current healthcare market research projects. One presentation highlighted the use of AI platforms (such as ChatGPT) within a controlled, walled-garden environment to enhance questionnaire design and outputs through continuous prompting and interactions. Similarly, another paper showcased the value of synthetic patient profiles created within ChatGPT to test hypotheses and shape discussion guides prior to interviews and workshops. They also demonstrated a case study using sentiment analysis tool to analyze emotions expressed in YouTube videos throughout the pandemic and offer innovative ways to gather insights without initial human interaction. These examples showed AI’s potential to enrich our understanding of customer experiences and perspectives.

Another session shed light on the challenges panel providers may face to ensure respondent authenticity in an era of AI bots. Some passive techniques such as analyzing mouse movements or keystroke patterns to identify non-human respondents highlight the ongoing battle between technological advancement and the need for genuine human input into market research design.

A key takeaway was a reminder that AI, despite its advances, remains in its infancy within healthcare market research. The emphasis was on viewing AI as a tool to enhance, rather than replace the human elements of design, analysis and insight interpretation. This perspective reflects a symbiotic relationship where AI offers efficiency and novel insights, while human oversight ensures relevance and authenticity.

Reaffirming the value of the traditional

The final sessions brought us back to the fundamentals of market research. A study was shared about the ‘Availability Heuristic’ among doctors underscored the fallibility of human judgement and the importance of critical thinking. The exploration of ‘Design Thinking’ in the last session highlighted the ensuring need for a human-cantered approach to address complex challenges and understand deep-seated human needs.

Another key takeaway illustrated that AI in healthcare market research should be seen as a complementary ‘friend’, not a dominant force. While AI can significantly enhance the way we gather, analyze and interpret data, the sessions were all underpinned by the irreplaceable value of human insight and traditional market research approaches. As we move forward, the integration and power of AI should be approaches as a collaboration that leverages the best of both worlds: the efficiency and innovation of artificial intelligence and the nuanced understanding of human behavior. This balanced perspective ensures that market research remains both innovative and deeply human centric, driving towards insights that are not only accurate; but meaningful for our clients and the industry.

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