June 26, 2024

GenAI in the Real World: A Q&A With Creative Technologist Chris Valleskey

EVERSANA INTOUCH establishes innovative systems and operational approaches to consistently enhance pharmaceutical services for end users, including patients and doctors. Chris Valleskey, group director, creative technology, discusses how the application of generative AI (GenAI) has influenced pharmaceutical marketing and the life sciences industry at large.

Q: How did you get involved in GenAI personally?

In December 2022, I got my first taste of ChatGPT and was amazed. I gave it some situations in my typical workflows where I’d get stuck, and in seconds it would output something that I could work with. It was so great that I kept talking to my wife about it, and eventually she said, “If it’s so great, can it tell me how to bake a flourless cake?” And I said, “For sure. Yes.” I asked ChatGPT, and in seconds it spat out a full recipe with ingredients and a list of step-by-step instructions. The whole thing was great except for one fact: The very first ingredient was almond flour.

Moral of the story? AI is a tool. It doesn’t possess critical thinking like us. And it’s not going to replace you. What will replace you are people who know your business and know how to leverage AI in the right time and place to increase their efficiency and multiply their output.

Q: What have you learned from real-world deployment?

One early idea for applying AI was creating visual depictions of specific conditions and generating a huge library of images. While that is a relatively simple application of the technology, the tone was off due to focusing on the disease instead of the people or the treatment of those diseases. So, we built on that idea further, asking users to imagine what their healthy brain looked like, and AI would generate an image of that. While most generations looked great and captured the essence of what we were trying to convey, some creations – and the reality that we were giving an open text field to the world to generate anything they wanted – killed the whole point of the idea, and we ultimately determined it wasn’t suitable for public audiences.

Q: How can someone begin using and applying AI into their workflows?

  1. Start small. Democratize access to general-purpose tools such as Microsoft Copilot, which can accept a variety of source file types as input. Even if a general-purpose AI tool isn’t the best solution, you at least start in the right direction by providing general access.
  2. Invest in time and resources for teams. Let team members self-train, but also host regular sessions to cross-share knowledge on how AI is being used across your business. For my team and the agency at large, leveraging Adobe Firefly early on was a great way for us apply AI at an enterprise level while ensuring privacy and compliance.
  3. If you’re in a business where you have partners to do work, find one who wants to try something new to address a pain point in both of your workflows. For us, this meant creating a tool to accelerate new content approvals with AWS.

Q: What results can you expect? And how do you measure customer-facing success?

Don’t expect AI to solve all your problems. It’s giving us all insight and use of a huge slice of human knowledge – what’s available on the web – but it isn’t doing any new, creative thinking on its own. But where things have been solved, discussed, solutioned, AI can aid in accelerating the time from idea to reality. If you track tasks, pilot those same tasks where an expert in that task is trained to use AI as an assistant, then compare effort and results.

For example, we worked with a client to create a series of instructional videos where the person speaking was entirely synthetic, from their appearance to their voice. The script was written by a verified team of doctors and experts, and we put it out into the wild for doctors to watch. What we didn’t know: Would doctors be receptive? So, we conducted a survey asking doctors about their impression of the videos, their comfort with them being AI generated and more. The results? The doctors liked them!

Q: Looking into the future, how do you expect AI to benefit EVERSANA in five to 10 years?

AI is already benefiting our organization to be more efficient in a lot of ways, but more important to us as an organization is its impact on patients. By harnessing the power of AI, we’re continuing to improve patient access to treatments, affordability and adherence – all to help streamline the patient journey and experience. We’re also seeing a shift in the pharma industry to adopt a more digital approach to bringing life-changing therapies to market and directly to patients. We expect this to continue, and EVERSANA is uniquely positioned to help companies take this on with our integrated models and AI capabilities.

Learn how EVERSANA INTOUCH is leveraging innovations like genAI to help our clients create a healthier world.