How 3M, now with M*Modal, is reducing the administrative burden on clinicians with AI

Published on January 29, 2020

As vice president of 3M’s M*Modal business, Michael Finke is committed to developing meaningful solutions that help create time for clinicians and other healthcare stakeholders so that they can focus on patient care.

Here, Mr. Finke, who co-founded M*Modal and served as its president, discusses the merging of the company with 3M and how they use artificial intelligence and virtual assistant technologies to aid physician workflows and simplify administrative tasks.

Editor’s note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: How does the coming together of 3M and M*Modal help both the healthcare industry and your clients? 

Michael Finke: 3M and M*Modal complete each other, making the whole greater than the sum of its parts. 3M is the market leader in revenue cycle, value-based care and performance management solutions while M*Modal is the leader in physician-assistive solutions and technologies. Together, 3M and M*Modal close the loop between clinical care and revenue integrity with shared clinical intelligence across work streams and stakeholders to deliver even greater value to our clients. 3M and M*Modal together are changing the paradigm on clinical workflows so that we move from a reactive to a proactive model, from explicit to implicit clinical documentation – so that we can put in the fix before there can be a fail.

Q: There is a lot of noise around AI and virtual assistant technologies. What is real and what is hype?

MF: To me, ambient intelligence is not a revolution but rather more of a guided evolution. If we set unrealistic expectations for this to be a revolution, we may set the market back by years. We would need to incrementally innovate and move it forward. Of course, such a guided evolution can’t be done in isolation. We work with our EHR partners like Epic, Allscripts and all major platforms, to optimize the overall experience and to make sure this works well within our clients’ existing ecosystems and leverages their existing investments.

Q: What are some real, clinical applications for virtual assistants?

MF: For more than four years, we have been providing AI-driven, over-the-shoulder assistance to physicians as they work in the EHR in the form of proactive and context-specific clinical insights. I like to think of these as nudges and we have wide market adoption of this technology.

This has now advanced to a virtual assistant that supports more ambient, intuitive and conversational workflows. The virtual assistant can help with conversational order entry, conversational chart search, free-form ambient documentation, and other such routine clinician tasks.

Q: What is your mission and what differentiates it from other companies?

MF: Our mission is to create time to care for clinicians and to transform the very experience of healthcare for all stakeholders – whether they be patients, doctors, nurses, CDI specialists, coders. The current levels of clinician burnout and dissatisfaction are reaching a crisis point, and we are committed to accelerating innovation to improve the well-being of clinicians and patients.

We believe AI should be ‘unremarkable’ and by that I mean, the technology should run quietly in the background with the goal of helping clinicians do the right things, faster and more easily. Ultimately, the goal is to make clinical documentation a by-product of the patient-doctor encounter, and not a separate and possibly burdensome task for the doctor.

Q: There are some real and serious issues facing the healthcare industry. Looking ahead, how do you see the technology evolving and where are the greatest opportunities in impacting care delivery?

MF: To be proactive with patient care, we must look at the complete clinical picture of the patient and understand patient populations, especially around chronic diseases, so that we can take better care of the individual patient. For this, technology needs to be integrated into the workflow and act as an additional filter, in lieu of an assistant who sits at the elbow as an additional set of eyes and brains for the physician. Technology should augment and supplement human intelligence. To me, ambient intelligence is about creating a personalized and contextualized experience that is focused on people, and not the technology.


You can also read the full interview here