In an announcement on Tuesday, Nuance Communications, Microsoft’s speech recognition subsidiary, revealed its advanced clinical notes application driven by artificial intelligence (AI) is set to make its way to Epic Systems. The primary objective of this integration is to alleviate the administrative burdens faced by physicians, enabling them to focus more on patient care. By leveraging AI technology, the application aims to streamline and simplify the documentation process, ultimately reducing the time and effort spent on administrative tasks.
Epic Systems, a renowned healthcare software company, specializes in providing hospitals and health systems with efficient storage, sharing, and access to electronic health records (EHRs). With a user base exceeding 500,000 physicians and serving 306 million patients worldwide, Epic’s solutions have established it as a trusted industry leader. The company has fostered longstanding partnerships with both Microsoft and Nuance, further enhancing its comprehensive offerings in the healthcare domain.
In a collaborative effort, the companies are joining forces to develop a system capable of handling numerous back-end administrative tasks for clinicians. Nuance, in a statement to CNBC on Tuesday, emphasized that the integration of their cutting-edge solution, Dragon Ambient eXperience Express, into the Epic platform marks a significant milestone in achieving this objective. By seamlessly incorporating this technology, the partnership aims to streamline and simplify clinicians’ administrative responsibilities, ultimately enhancing their overall workflow efficiency.
Within seconds following a patient visit, DAX Express, powered by OpenAI’s latest model, GPT-4, swiftly generates a preliminary clinical note. This remarkable technology is capable of recording real-time conversations between doctors and patients, leveraging a combination of existing AI capabilities. By seamlessly integrating these advanced features, DAX Express revolutionizes the note-taking process, providing physicians with an efficient tool to create comprehensive clinical notes in a fraction of the time.
During an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Garrett Adams, the product lead for Epic’s ambulatory division, highlighted the remarkable efficiency of the system, stating, “The truly remarkable aspect is that the clinical note is generated in a matter of seconds, not hours.” Adams emphasized that this innovative technology enables physicians to obtain superior quality notes in significantly less time compared to manual typing. The level of convenience provided by this automation was previously unimaginable a decade ago, revolutionizing the documentation process and enhancing overall workflow for healthcare professionals.
Following Microsoft’s acquisition of Nuance for approximately $16 billion in 2021, the company offers a range of speech recognition and transcription tools utilized in various settings such as doctor’s office visits, customer service calls, and voicemails. One of Nuance’s notable solutions, DAX Express, was initially introduced in March. In a recent statement, the company highlighted that this technology has successfully enabled clinicians to save approximately seven minutes per patient encounter. This significant time-saving impact reflects the effectiveness and efficiency of DAX Express in streamlining the documentation process for healthcare professionals.
In the healthcare industry, valuable time has become a scarce resource for doctors and nurses throughout the United States, as they grapple with increasingly burdensome clerical work. A study funded by the American Medical Association in 2016 revealed a stark reality: for every hour physicians spent with patients, an additional two hours were dedicated to administrative tasks. Moreover, physicians often found themselves devoting an extra one to two hours to clerical work outside of regular working hours, a phenomenon commonly referred to as “pajama time.” This struggle underscores the pressing need for innovative solutions that can alleviate the administrative burden on healthcare professionals, allowing them to focus more on patient care and reducing the strain on their work-life balance.
During an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Peter Durlach, Chief Strategy Officer at Nuance, emphasized the undesirability of “pajama time” for healthcare professionals, stating, “The last thing they want to do is pajama time.” Durlach’s remark highlights the importance of reducing the administrative workload on physicians outside of regular working hours. Additionally, Garrett Adams highlighted that Nuance’s technology empowers physicians to be more fully present during patient encounters, enabling them to devote their attention and focus to delivering optimal care. By alleviating administrative burdens, the technology facilitates a more meaningful and attentive doctor-patient interaction.
“The healthcare provider can now fully immerse themselves in actively listening to the patient, free from the mental burden of juggling multiple tasks,” he explained. “This technology allows them to prioritize the patient’s needs and truly establish a deep connection. As a result, patients experience a heightened sense of being heard and understood.”
To ensure the utmost security and compliance, Nuance maintains stringent data agreements with its customers. Patient data is fully encrypted and processed within HIPAA-compliant environments, ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of sensitive information. As for DAX Express for Epic, it will initially be accessible through a private preview program for selected users during the upcoming summer. Peter Durlach expressed the company’s aspirations to progress towards general availability by the first quarter of 2024, aiming to extend the benefits of this advanced technology to a wider user base.