Three questions with Liz Guyton: Health care innovations, physician burnout and HIMSS

June 7, 2021 / By Liz Guyton, Kelli Christman

We sat down with 3M Health Information Systems Vice President of the U.S. and Canada Liz Guyton, CPA, to discuss big tech in health care, extinguishing physician burnout and HIMSS.  

The health care industry has seen increased interest from “big tech” in recent years. Can you talk about how health care could benefit from new players and innovations?

We really believe that the investment coming to the health care industry from non-traditional health care players is phenomenal. Competition breeds innovation and innovation results in better health care, better outcomes and a better overall experience. Given our unique and rich history in the health care space, we work closely with many of the “big tech” companies to share our expertise and generate new ideas.

There is an old saying, “if you aren’t innovating, you’re dying.” Our long history of innovating new solutions shows that we have a pulse on what our customers want and what direction the health care industry is shifting (and it is constantly shifting). We bring innovative solutions to the table … sometimes solutions that aren’t even from the health care world. A great example of that is voice recognition. That technology didn’t start in health care, but we were able to take advantage of the functionality and apply our deep knowledge of health care to help reduce physician burnout. Our entire team is excited to participate in more conversations across different industries to see how we can all work together to improve health care for physicians, patients and payers.

New technology is great, but there is real concern that physicians are already burned out with learning new technology and overwhelmed with administrative tasks. How is 3M HIS combatting that and helping to alleviate some of the burnout through technology?

Physician burnout is real and 3M has long recognized this as a problem. That’s why we added M*Modal to our portfolio a few years ago. We now have the capability to work directly with physicians to better understand their challenges and come up with creative tools to help them focus on what they got into medicine for to begin with: Caring for patients. We’re using artificial intelligence (AI) to give insights to physicians from a variety of sources; not to influence their care decisions, but to ensure that they have all of the relevant information they need at the time of care. Combine this with our expertise on the revenue cycle side of the house and we’re creating an autonomous and more personal experience for both sides.

HCC management is a great example of how we’re doing this. We’re looking at the history of the patient and proactively telling the doctor, “hey, you missed something in documentation” while they are documenting. Not after the fact, when they’ve moved on to 10 other patients. At the point of care.

Virtual assistant is another great example of how we’re moving the focus away from technology and back to the patient-provider relationship. We can capture the conversation between the patient and family and their doctor, provide the accurate code, identify any missing information, send the data to the revenue cycle team and automatically generate a bill. Things like dangerous abbreviations (CC vs ML) can be fixed in the moment with proactive nudges, which dramatically decreases downstream coding and billing issues. It’s incredible. I experienced it firsthand at a recent doctor’s appointment with my personal doctor. She had her computer there, but her focus was on me. She wasn’t turned in her chair typing furiously, it felt so much more personal. That’s the way it should be.

We’re almost halfway through 2021 (!), the U.S. is coming out of a global pandemic and attempting to find “normal” again. What does that look like for you?

Our entire team, like many others, have been completely remote for more than a year. And while we’ve seen plenty of each other via video calls, there is nothing that can replace being in person. A small group of us, fully vaccinated, made a trip to our Salt Lake City office last week for an in-person meeting. It was so wonderful to hug people again and it made me even more excited to see our clients at HIMSS in a couple of months and get out to client sites. Any day I get to spend with clients is the best day I can have. I’ll be honest though, I missed my flip flops!

We understand that not everyone is going to be comfortable with in-person meetings right away, so we’ve embraced a hybrid model that gives our team the flexibility to choose what’s best for them and their families, while still being able to accomplish what they need to for our customers.

Kelli Christman is senior marketing communications specialist at 3M Health Information Systems.

Liz Guyton is Director of Health Information Systems Division, USAC in our Health Care Business Group.