Generative AI in health care: The hype, the realities and the possibilities

Aug. 30, 2023 / By Jared Sorensen

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere these days. And while the hype is mostly warranted, I think it is important to have a clear understanding of what generative AI is and how it can be used in health care. At its core, generative AI learns to identify and analyze data and then create content from the data on which it has been trained. This makes it uniquely suited for health care and life sciences. And it makes 3M HIS uniquely suited to innovate in this space. While the data gathered by AI through a multitude of inputs can pose significant challenges, it can also fundamentally change the way we deliver health care. That’s why our team is committed to responsibly and intentionally deploying technology that ultimately lessens the physician’s documentation burden and helps them create more time to care.

3M applies science to life. In other words, we identify a problem and employ science to find a solution. 3M HIS has a long history of eliminating revenue cycle waste, driving value-based care and empowering clinicians to spend more time with their patients. We’ve built solutions across health care that help decrease burnout by automating administrative tasks and help improve the quality of care our clients provide. But we don’t do that in a bubble. We work side-by-side with our clients to test these solutions in the real world. And then we take those learnings back … and if something doesn’t work in the way it was intended, or if it adds to the administrative burden of our providers, we go back to the drawing board. 

Our approach to deploying AI is no different. We’ve been building the foundation of our speech understanding solutions for decades and are now using that unique expertise and knowledge to create solutions that automate vital processes like documentation so that physicians can focus on the patient sitting in front of them. So they can truly reduce their administrative burden and cognitive energy devoted to non-patient care tasks.

For example, we can deliver AI-powered insights that nudge a physician while they are documenting a case in order to capture a more accurate picture of the patient’s story. Those nudges are designed to assist physicians by eliminating re-work. Not only does this result in more accurate documentation on the front end, but it reduces the issues in the downstream coding and billing process. We believe that if you can capture documentation accurately from the beginning, proactively identify any information that is missing through AI, we can create valuable insights and prompt corrections. That’s why we do what we do. And that’s why we’re thrilled to collaborate with AWS so that we can accelerate and scale the work that’s been done.

We’re really excited about the possibilities generative AI brings to health care. If you’re interested in learning about our evolution from speech recognition to ambient intelligence, check out this podcast with our resident AI expert, Detlef Koll.

While we recognize there is much work to be done, and many challenges that we’re hitting head on—like ensuring our solutions address health inequities and bias in the technology—we’re excited for what the future holds. We are and will stay laser focused on our commitment to responsibly and thoughtfully deploying technology in a way that truly helps physicians reduce administrative burden and improve patient outcomes.  

I talked about all of this and more in a recent webinar with AWS Senior Product Manager, AI and ML Services Sarthak Handa. You can watch it here on demand.

Jared Sorensen is the global director, clinician solutions for 3M Health Information Systems.