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Using ChatGPT in Life Sciences: Key Application Areas and Use Cases

20 Apr 2023

In my earlier blog, I highlighted a few considerations that are critical for the adoption of Generative AI, aka ChatGPT in Life Sciences. One way to look at these considerations is to view them as constraints that need to be overcome.

In this blog, I want to cover key use cases that by their nature lend themselves more easily to the usage of Generative AI. This blog needs to be read keeping the broader business processes in mind.

Let me start with two specific use cases where we are already seeing active adoption of Generative AI in Life Sciences:

Personalizing Customer Journey Maps with ChatGPT

In the experience economy, pharmaceutical companies face the challenge of building personalized customer journey maps in an omnichannel world. The industry has been searching for an efficient approach to address this. One approach that the industry has taken is to build a decision engine (Next Best Action) using traditional AI/ML models. With Large Language Models (LLM), there is now a new way to tackle this challenge. ChatGPT is effective in creating personalized journey maps and associated omnichannel plans for a defined customer segment. This saves a significant amount of time and effort while offering a cost-effective option vis-à-vis traditional methods that require high investment.

By carefully setting up the context and guardrails, you can ensure that the technology understands the intent of the question and provides consistent responses. With this foundation in place, ChatGPT can then be used to develop detailed journey maps and plans that cater to each customer segment and persona.

Intelligent Chatbot for Real-time Patient Interaction

Conversational AI / Chatbots have been around for a long time. Historical benchmarks on the quality of conversations, the cost, and implementation time have hindered more widespread adoption. This is not unique to life sciences alone. Even virtual assistant technology applications like Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and a multitude of chatbot companies have been successful but to a limited extent. Now, Generative AI offers you the ability to build your own chatbot and scale it to the next level. One example I was personally involved in was building a robust interactive chat functionality in a matter of days instead of months.

ChatGPT applications in life sciences are numerous – it can serve as a channel for smarter pharmacovigilance (intake of adverse events). ChatGPT acted as a chatbot to capture crucial adverse event (AE) information from patients (including follow-up for missing pieces of key information). ChatGPT also converted unstructured conversation into specific data elements in the required format so that downstream systems (Oracle Argus Safety, for example) can ingest this data, allowing faster case processing and reporting of adverse events.

ChatGPT can double up as a call centre/chat agent in other domain areas, with a carefully defined context preventing the AI from providing incorrect information. By guiding the conversation and asking relevant questions, ChatGPT can collect valuable information from users (patients) and AI-driven insights in medical research in real-time.

The true power of ChatGPT lies in its ability to parse sentences and extract the required information from users' responses, even if they are not formatted as data inputs. Once the AI engine has collected all the necessary information, it can be converted into a structured format that can be easily fed into a database or system.

The above two use cases are just the tip of the iceberg. We are actively experimenting with ChatGPT for a few other use cases, and are seeing promising results. While some of these are in the proof of concept (POC) stage, we see many maturing fast.

Other promising use cases of ChatGPT in Life Sciences:

Safety Signals: By analyzing large volumes of data, ChatGPT can help identify potential safety issues and adverse events related to specific drugs much earlier, enabling pharma companies to take timely action to protect patients
Drug discovery: ChatGPT for medical literature analysis helps researchers identify potential drug targets, understand molecular mechanisms, and generate hypotheses for further investigation. Drug discovery with ChatGPT offers a powerful tool for exploring scientific literature, enabling researchers to leverage its capabilities in uncovering valuable insights and accelerating the drug development process
Clinical trial optimization: ChatGPT can assist in the design of more efficient clinical trial support using NLP by identifying the most suitable patient populations, selecting appropriate endpoints, and predicting potential challenges or risks
Clinical data management: ChatGPT can automate data conversion by taking multiple different formats of case report forms (CRFs), analyzing data from different sources, and providing a unified data story that is aligned with the selected standard. Manual tasks of aggregating, cleaning, and transforming data can be automated with a high level of accuracy
Labelling & Regulatory compliance: ChatGPT can be used to analyze complex regulations and help pharma companies ensure that product labels are updated to ensure adherence to the regulatory guidelines
Medical Writing: ChatGPT can automate the labor-intensive task of analyzing research reports and writing an easy-to-read summary for HCPs based on the specific queries that a life sciences organization received from HCPs
Patient education and support: ChatGPT can be utilized to create personalized educational materials for patients, helping them understand their condition and treatment options better. It can also offer real-time support through chat interfaces, answering common questions and promptly addressing concerns.
Marketing and sales optimization: ChatGPT can help life sciences companies develop tailored marketing strategies and sales plans by analyzing customer segments, preferences, and behaviors. It can also assist in creating personalized content, promotions, and communication to engage customers more effectively by using ChatGPT for patient engagement
Post-market surveillance: ChatGPT can be used to monitor social media, news articles, and other sources of information to identify potential safety concerns or emerging trends related to pharmaceutical products. This enables companies to take proactive measures to address any issues or capitalize on new opportunities.
Diagnosis and Disease Identification: Leveraging its natural language processing capabilities, ChatGPT can analyze patient data, symptoms, and medical histories to provide valuable insights for healthcare professionals. This can streamline the diagnostic process, leading to more accurate and efficient identification of various medical conditions.
Medical Imaging: ChatGPT's applications can contribute to the interpretation and analysis of complex visual data. By integrating with medical imaging technologies, ChatGPT assists radiologists and clinicians in interpreting scans, identifying anomalies, and generating detailed reports. This collaborative approach enhances the accuracy and speed of medical image analysis, potentially revolutionizing the diagnostic capabilities of healthcare professionals.
Healthcare provider support: ChatGPT can function as an intelligent virtual assistant for healthcare providers, offering real-time support in areas such as drug dosing, interactions, and contraindications. This can help improve patient care and reduce the risk of errors

The practical applicability of Generative AI is almost endless, and given the enormous potential of Generative AI, the life sciences industry is poised for an exciting journey ahead. Using ChatGPT prudently, you can accelerate your organization’s digital journey and significantly improve future-readiness as new technologies catch up (and probably surpass) ChatGPT.

But, for life sciences companies, the key is to go the distance. To use the fishing analogy in this context, it’s more important to learn how to fish than just get the fish; so, it’s more important for life sciences leaders to learn how to leverage Generative AI to its full potential than just buying or taking a piecemeal approach to using it.

In my next blog, I will focus on how to quickly start implementing ChatGPT and scaling the projects to sustain success.


Pratik Maroo
Pratik Maroo

Insights to build #FutureReadyHealthcare