Three questions with Garri Garrison: Stop by HIMSS to see our ambient intelligence and autonomous coding in action

March 4, 2024 / By Garri Garrison, Kelli Christman

I sat down with Garri Garrison, 3M Health Information Systems division president, to discuss HIMSS 2024 and some of the things you’ll see in our booth this year.

HIMSS is next week, and we’re excited to showcase our autonomous coding and ambient intelligence solutions. Can you tell us what clients can expect in our booth?

Yes! We’re excited to see a lot of our friends and partners in Orlando next week. I’m really excited to showcase the progress we’ve made with autonomous coding and ambient intelligence over the last year. We’ve been working hard alongside our clients to automate the billing cycle with artificial intelligence (AI) that has such a high level of confidence that you don’t really need a human touch. This can save coders time and allow them to focus their unique knowledge on the more complex cases by automating every step of the process, from capture to code.

On the physician side, we’ve made great strides in the ambient intelligence space. We can record the patient-physician conversation unobtrusively in the background, create narrative documentation by leveraging generative AI, proactively nudge the physician if there is any missing or inaccurate documentation, and finally send it off for billing. All with minimal touchpoints from the physician other than to ensure accuracy and sign the note. This technology truly is addressing the challenge of physician burnout head on.

What makes me most excited is that the combination of these two components – autonomous coding and ambient intelligence – is something completely unique to 3M HIS. While there may be others out there who can do pieces of the continuum, we integrate each workflow to support and amplify the other. Our technology, from creating the documentation to understanding payer and government requirements, to payment and compliance and creating a unique and streamlined experience for physicians, creates an environment that is more efficient and makes health care better, smarter and safer.

Clinician burnout continues to be a hot topic in health care and is certainly top of mind for our clients. As a clinician yourself, what is the one thing health care providers can do to protect themselves against burnout?

Clinician burnout and labor shortages are going to continue to be a hot topic for the foreseeable future. A recent study showed that a third of nurses plan to leave their profession for another career, and 94 percent of nurses surveyed said the shortage is much worse now than five years ago. The labor market is going to continue to be a challenge, particularly as the Baby Boomers age and increase our Medicare population.

The one thing I think clinicians can do in their everyday life is find efficiencies and automate administrative tasks. We have to change the way we do our work. We should identify ways to efficiently do critical tasks, but also accomplish our required administrative tasks. We can’t continue doing things the way we’ve always done them. We must rely on technology to create some of those efficiencies to relieve the pressure.

Coding staffing shortages are another challenge our clients face as we continue to stabilize after a global pandemic. How can technology support this challenge?

Much like with clinicians, coding staffing shortages are real, and there is no end in sight. The American Medical Association recently said that across the nation, there is a 30 percent shortage in medical coders. If we can find a way to automate simple billing and coding tasks to eliminate the need for a human touch, we can create efficiencies in the system. Today we manually touch almost every claim, often enhanced by computer-assisted coding (CAC), but for the most part, it still involves a human component. Going forward, we need a technology solution with a high degree of confidence so that the only claims that need a coder touch are the complex ones. Human coders will play the role of auditor to ensure that the system is maintained, and the code confidence remains high.

These changes are creating a new dynamic in health care, and we are going to continue to see technology attempt to solve these challenges. One thing remains as an utmost priority for us, though … we must innovate technology solutions that truly impact the end user and not add to their burden. We must deploy technology that relieves administrative burdens on physicians so they can focus on their patients, and we must increase automation of simple coding tasks so that organizations are appropriately reimbursed for the quality care they are providing.

Our team is looking forward to showcasing all of this and more at HIMSS, so stop by our booth #2241 to see it all in action and grab a cup of coffee from our coffee bar! You can also schedule a demo before you arrive – just click this link.

Garri Garrison is division president for 3M Health Information Systems. 

Kelli Christman is a marketing communications manager at 3M Health Information Systems.