RALEIGH, N.C., Feb.  06, 2018  (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Syneos Health Communications today released a report that provides pioneering perspectives into patients’ thought processes as they confront a future with artificial intelligence (AI). The first of its kind research reveals that excitement over healthcare AI in the scientific and investor communities doesn’t necessarily translate into enthusiasm from patients and caregivers at the receiving end of AI services.

While more than 300 venture capital and private equity deals have funded healthcare AI experiments over the last five years, the conversation has been primarily led by technologists, scientists, or providers focused on the potential role of AI in predicting or diagnosing conditions. Until now, the missing component in this AI healthcare conversation has been patient and caregiver perspectives.

This report provides that missing link with survey research compiled across approximately 800 European and American patients in three disease areas – atrial fibrillation, Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer – and 200 caregivers for people with Parkinson’s disease.i  

Findings include:

  • Fears of AI in Healthcare: The survey indicates that the top two fears patients and caregivers have when it comes to artificial intelligence are lack of human oversight and the potential for machine errors leading to mismanagement of their health.
  • No Substitute for Your Doctor: When it comes to the possibilities of doctors being replaced by algorithms or robots, fears are clearly evident with fewer than 20 percent of patients surveyed perceiving any benefit to their future healthcare in receiving diagnosis or treatment recommendations from a virtual assistant. 
  • Strong Comfort in Using AI to Scale and Support Nurses: Switch the focus to the critical role played by nurses in supporting patients, and a different picture emerges.
    -  Three times as many respondents (64 percent) would be comfortable with artificially intelligent virtual nurse assistants. The number one benefit is seen as 24x7 on-demand access to answers and support, followed by monitoring for their general health and wellness, or for questions around a specific medication they’ve been prescribed.
    -  Patients also have strong views on how “human” any virtual nurse assistants need to be. A ‘realistic voice’ with a professional, warm and empathetic tone is seen as appealing by 72 percent - more important than a human name, face or gender.
  • Appropriate Providers of AI: When asked to rank potential providers of AI-powered virtual nurse assistants in terms of trust, tech companies are toward the bottom of the list, alongside insurers. Healthcare providers such as doctors, pharmacists or hospitals rank highest.

“Syneos Health Communications believes that technology giants viewing healthcare as their next big opportunity must address patient and caregiver concerns about trust, control and oversight,” said Michelle Keefe, President, Syneos Health Commercial Solutions. “A structured and deliberate multi-channel marketing and communications approach will be essential to generate the desired efficiencies and behavioral outcomes AI can achieve.”

Syneos Health explored these issues with panelists from Verily, Verantos, Celgene, Prognos and Evidation Health at a panel on artificial intelligence in healthcare at the Digital Medicine & Medtech Showcase hosted in San Francisco in January. The report further explores how AI can play a role in adherence, clinical trials, at the pharmacy and includes implications for life science brands.

The report – “Artificial Intelligence for Authentic Engagement: Patient Perspectives on Healthcare’s Evolving AI Conversation” – is available for free download at syneoshealthcommunications.com. In addition to the survey results, it also contains insights from follow-up focus groups exploring current ideas, expectations and concerns from these patients and caregivers.

About Syneos Health Communications
Syneos Health Communications is the only healthcare communications network that is part of a company on the frontlines of healthcare, with a clear view into the everyday complexities of life and health. As part of Syneos HealthTM, our agencies – consisting of leading brands and experts in advertising, branding, public relations, managed markets and medical communications – are engaged in every point of influence in health, providing real-world insight into markets and audiences in ways that no other partner could. 

We work in scalable, collaborative teams that partner across disciplines and geographies to deliver integrated communications strategies that accelerate brand performance. Our agency teams have received more than 1,000 awards for work that disrupts markets and drives behavior change. We create ideas that will work in the real world because they were built there.

Find out more at syneoshealthcommunications.com. 

About Syneos Health
Syneos Health (Nasdaq:SYNH) is the only fully integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization. Our company, including a Contract Research Organization (CRO) and Contract Commercial Organization (CCO), is purpose-built to accelerate customer performance to address modern market realities. Created through the merger of two industry leading companies – INC Research and inVentiv Health – we bring together more than 21,000 clinical and commercial minds with the ability to support customers in more than 110 countries. Together we share insights, use the latest technologies and apply advanced business practices to speed our customers’ delivery of important therapies to patients. To learn more about how we are shortening the distance from lab to lifeTM visit syneoshealth.com.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Except for historical information, all of the statements, expectations, and assumptions contained in this press release are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results might differ materially from those explicit or implicit in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to: risks associated with the integration of our business with the business of inVentiv Health, and our operation of the combined business following the closing of the Merger; our ability to maintain or generate new business awards; our ability to increase our market share, grow our business, and execute our growth strategies; our backlog not being indicative of future revenues and our ability to realize the anticipated future revenue reflected in our backlog; our ability to adequately price our contracts and not overrun cost estimates; general and international economic, political, and other risks, including currency and stock market fluctuations and the uncertain economic environment; fluctuations in our financial results; reliance on key personnel; our customer or therapeutic area concentration; and the other risk factors set forth in our Form-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2017, and other SEC filings, copies of which are available free of charge on our website at investor.syneoshealth.com. Syneos Health assumes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.


Investor Relations:
Ronnie Speight
Vice President, Investor Relations
+1 919 745 2745
[email protected]

Danielle DeForge
Senior Director, External Communications
+1 202 210 5992
[email protected]

i Fieldwork International was responsible for the sample, the fieldwork and provision of data only. The questionnaire design, data analysis and reporting of the survey data was the full responsibility of Syneos Health Communications.