The generative AI revolution: are you ready for rapid change?

By Claire Macchia, Managing Partner, US

Hey there, fellow healthcare insights enthusiasts! I’ve just returned from the Intellus Institute, and I’m excited to share my thoughts on the incredible discussions that took place during this year’s conference.  Intellus exists to bring together hundreds of members of our community to discuss our common challenges, share knowledge, strengthen professional networks and curate solutions that advance health insights and analytics.  There my colleague, IsaGoldberg, and I had the privilege of shedding light on some practical tools and ideas for integrating Generative AI into healthcare research. The response was fantastic, with colleagues and clients engaging in lively conversations about how emerging technologies, especially Generative AI, are reshaping our field. 

Of course, no groundbreaking shift comes without its fair share of skepticism and doubt. Many of us couldn’t help but draw parallels between this wave of technological evolution and previous changes in our industry, like the shift to conducting quantitative surveys online. It’s comforting to think that we’ve weathered such storms before, but here’s why this transformation might be different and faster than anything we’ve seen before. 

Reason 1: The Exponential Growth 

You’ve likely heard the buzz about technologies advancing at an “exponential pace.”  Indeed, according to a report by Deloitte, the advancements in machine learning algorithms and computing power have significantly accelerated the rate of AI progress.   But let’s be real – grasping the concept of exponential growth can be a brain-twister.  Consider this classic example: imagine a pond with a single lily pad. If the number of lily pads doubles every day and the pond is covered on Day 30, when is it halfway covered? Surprisingly, it’s Day 29, not Day 15. 

The takeaway here? We must confront the reality of exponential growth in these technologies if we want to harness their benefits and adapt quickly. 

Reason 2: The Benefit Horizon 

Every technology has something called a “benefit horizon” – the point at which it’s expected to deliver tangible benefits or return on investment for most organizations. However, it’s essential to remember that this horizon is typically set for the average business or firm, right in the middle of the bell curve. There are advanced firms out there that can reap these benefits much earlier because they’re adept at taking calculated risks with emerging technologies. 

Generative AI technology has exploded because robust experimentation and astonishing abilities are creating value at lightning speed.    From generative image and video creation to conversational AI, these tools are already integrating seamlessly into our insights workflows.   Thus, what sets this apart from previous technological revolutions is that the benefit horizon is likely to be much shorter, especially for those who are willing to embrace and adapt to change. 

So, what does all of this mean for you and the healthcare insights industry as a whole? It means that now, more than ever, we need to be open to change and innovation. Here are three pieces of advice to help you stay ahead: 

  1. Start exploring and experimenting: Begin your journey into the world of Generative AI (safely and compliantly) as soon as you can. Don’t get left behind as the tides of change roll in. 
  1. Seek expert advice and build your skills: Learning some basic prompts and exploring the various tools with trusted guides along the way will help you navigate this transformative era effectively. 
  1. Be brave:   All of us possess the imagination, creativity, and skills to define how Generative AI can add value to our work. But we need to take this step forward into the future with confidence. 

Do you agree that we’re entering a new era for the insights industry, characterized by accelerated change? Or do you think it’s all just hype, another technology bubble waiting to burst? 


Abigail Stuart