Digital Trends and AI

Hosted in June 2024 with Amgen

DHC Summit Summary

On June 25, 2024, marketers from AbbVie, Lundbeck, Astellas, and other local pharma cos joined the teams from Amgen at the DHC Summit. The afternoon focused on the impact of digital trends and the evolution of AI on pharma marketing today. (see Summit agenda here)

Amgen’s Enterprise AI Enablement Lead, John Kinney, in his opening address, offered the framework for the Summit’s key takeaways, offering four considerations: the Hinge Moment, the Journey of Adoption, the Human Element, and the Ethics Landscape.


Digital Innovation in Pharma is at a Hinge Moment:

We are in a pivotal time where technology and biotechnology are converging, creating a unique opportunity to revolutionize drug discovery, development, manufacturing, and commercialization. This is driven by advancements in AI, such as GPUs handling large complex algorithms and the rapid evolution of models surpassing Moore’s law. Klick Health’s Simon Smith highlighted how the adoption of tools like ChatGPT Enterprise has allowed companies such as Moderna and Amgen to significantly boost productivity and efficiency. He emphasized the transformative impact of integrating these tools into enterprises, underscoring the pivotal moment we are in as these technologies become more widely adopted. 

“I don't think there's any technology of recent note that's been able to have that kind of leverage just through deployment and adoption. We're actually seeing the impact of this just by putting it in people's hands and letting them figure out how to best use it.”

- Simon Smith, EVP of Generative AI, Klick Health

In a conversation with Ubie Health’s Xander Kerman Gregory, Nandini Nayar (Global Digital Health and Innovation Lead – Patient Experience) and Jose Maria “Chema” Guido Avila (Global Patient Experience Lead), both from Sanofi Specialty Care,  emphasized the importance of identifying patient pain points and using AI to address these needs, showcasing a hinge moment in their approach to digital health.

“For example, voice based disease detection or AI for disease severity - I am optimistic that the tech itself is going to drive some of the adoption, but that’s not enough. We all need to collectively find ways to make patients aware of this technology, cost effective ways to put it in patients’ hands.”

- Nandini Nayar, Global Digital Health and Innovation Lead – Patient Experience, Sanofi Specialty Care

Pharma’s Location on the Journey of AI Adoption:

The adoption of AI is a process, and we are at the starting line. Despite the fast pace of advancements like ChatGPT, there is a learning curve similar to past technologies (e.g., search engines, social media, smartphones). The full maturity of generative AI is expected to take years. In a discussion with Amgen’s Nick Abruzzo (Custom Platforms and Orchestration, Global Commercial Operations) and Karl Svensson (Senior Director, Data Science & Advanced Analytics) on how they have utilized AI to better engage with HCPs, Nick stressed the importance of learning and adapting to the rapid changes in AI technology.  He noted that the current models and applications will likely be outdated in a few months. Reflecting on the initial phase of AI adoption, Nick and Karl shared their process of identifying and validating use cases through user experience research and piloting. 

“Whatever you build now is going to be outdated. And you have to be comfortable that the only thing you can know is that these things are going to continue to improve in ways that probably aren't fully expected.”

- Karl Svensson, Senior Director, Data Science & Advanced Analytics, Amgen

Google’s Hillary Gurber (Head of Industry, Healthcare) also supported the “AI Adoption is a Journey” mindset. Google has been integrating AI into its ad products since 2017 and, through that progressive adoption journey, has realized significant improvements in performance and profitability for advertisers. 

Dave Emery (M3 Mi) brought forward new research conducted with over 4,000 physicians, helping to provide a more complete picture of how customers are reacting to pharma’s expanding use of AI. He highlighted that physicians are demonstrating an increasing acceptance for targeted content and advertising, but we still face a pressing need to bridge the trust gap by ensuring that reliable, high-quality content from trusted sources is prevalent. 

Don’t Underestimate the Human Element:

Human involvement is crucial for innovation, learning, and experimentation in AI adoption. The success of AI depends on how people use and integrate it. Respected digital innovator Paulo Machado provided a key perspective as someone who has both been inside of pharma cos and now works with start-ups. He encouraged companies to understand their own needs and the problems they are trying to solve, stressing the importance of creating internal advocacy and support for successful partnerships with startups. He underscored the critical role of human decision-making and strategic alignment in the adoption of new technologies. Examples of this came through during a panel with Bill Veltre (EVP, Head of Media, Deerfield Agency), Claudia Kanaszyc (Associate Director, Amgen), and Amanda Phraner (Senior Director, Product Communications, Amgen).  Claudia shared her experience of needing to go beyond the standard retargeting model when seeking to advertise to a rare disease population on social media channels. The success of her program was only possible because of the critical thinking she and her team employed – a “human element” layered on top of the technology.

“Think about how you are going to get to people to reach them with resources, information, community, connection. Take everything you have and be in the places where they are.”

- Amanda Phraner, Senior Director, Product Communications, Amgen

A conversation with two practicing opthamalogists, led by PatientPoint’s Liz Phillips, further brought that point home.  Hearing about how they interact with patients on a daily basis provided a better understanding of how digital innovation deployment needs to factor in actual use in the field. Similarly, Dr. Patrick Fleming and Dr. Kyle Lee joined Sermo’s Bill Canfield to talk about their experiences with AI in their professional lives. They advise focusing on places where AI deployment can enhance HCP office efficiency.  

“I think marketers are the best influencers in the world. And we have the best job because we get to help people on a journey to care.”

- Bill Veltre, SVP, Head of Media, Deerfield Agency

Keep a Watchful Eye on Ethics and Compliance:

Ensuring the ethical use of AI and maintaining data security is essential. AI adoption must include strict adherence to regulatory standards. Maintaining ethical standards will help build trust and ensure AI technologies’ safe and effective use. Kal Svensson (Amgen) tied this back to the careful considerations that are a part of working with patient and trial data due to compliance and legal issues.

Hillary Gurber (Google) emphasized the importance of preparedness and adhering to stringent guidelines to ensure compliance with future privacy regulations. She advised marketers to balance current opportunities with more privacy-safe measures to stay ahead of regulatory changes.

In reflecting on omnichannel technology solutions, Jose Maria (Chema) Guido Avila (Global Patient Experience Lead, Sanofi Specialty Care) stressed the importance of understanding the regulatory boundaries. David Reim and Zach Farrell of IQVIA provided a key perspective on how to move forward now, advising marketers to build a village of informed regulatory and compliance experts.

“it's a very challenging environment, because the number one question is ‘can you actually find the patients?’. Can you do it within the data privacy regulations? Do you have enough information? Is it compliant?”

- Jose Maria (Chema) Guido Avila, Global Patient Experience Lead, Sanofi Specialty Care

The Digital Health Coalition would like to thank all the participants of the Summit. You can access additional session resources below.


Click here for Agenda | (All videos coming soon)

Physician Social Experience - New HCP Research

M3 MI’s latest independent, unbiased research of 4,094 U.S. physician respondents across 24 specialties provides a foundational view of the Physician social media experience.  This session will provide engaging insights on: how social fits within their overall channel mix, social connections and their influence on prescribing, social network usage, and so much more.

  • Dave Emery, Managing Director, M3 M

HCP Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Market Research & Advertising

Results from a newly-completed international study of 500 physicians across specialties to understand their perspectives, experiences and opinions about AI in Medical Market Research and Advertising.  

  • Dr. Patrick Fleming, Dermatologist + Sermo Medical Advisory Board 
  • Dr. Kyle Lee, Family Medicine physician + Sermo Medical Advisory Board
  • Bill Canfield, Director, Business Development, Sermo

Addressing Privacy Concerns: Creating Safe Audiences and Doing the Right Thing with Data

In the evolving landscape of healthcare marketing, the direct-to-consumer (DTC) approach presents both unprecedented opportunities and significant challenges. As organizations seek to leverage vast amounts of data to personalize and enhance consumer engagement, the risk of inadvertently compromising individual privacy has become a pressing concern. This risk is compounded by the complexities of navigating a patchwork of state privacy laws, alongside the technical challenges of merging health data with consumer behavior insights. In this presentation, we will explore these challenges, focusing on an innovative solution that promises to reshape the future of DTC healthcare marketing. At the core of our discussion is the increasing concern over the potential to identify individuals when health data is combined with consumer data. This concern extends to the process of audience activation, where the use of statistical scoring to categorize individuals and match to online identifiers can be perceived as a form of identification.

  • David Reim, Sr Director, Information Governance and Privacy, IQVIA Digital Enablement, IQVIA 
  • Zach Farrell, Principal, Consulting Services, IQVIA Digital Enablement, IQVIA