- Digital assistant Notable has inked a partnership with its first major health system, CommonSpirit, as a slew of tech giants and venture capital-backed startups look to peddle voice-to-text and AI products in the lucrative medical documentation space.
- It's the largest partnership for San Mateo, California-based Notable to date since the startup was formed in 2017. CommonSpirit, created last year by the merger of two large Catholic health systems, is a $29 billion operator serving 21 states.
- Notable's Apple Watch-based technology is already live at select CommonSpirit ambulatory primary care centers in California, with plans to scale more broadly across the systems' 142 hospitals and more than 700 facilities.
Voice-enabled technology that allows physicians free use of their hands and cuts down on documentation time is seeing some serious hype from Silicon Valley and in traditional healthcare circles. The medical transcription market, voice-enabled or not, is still young but investors and tech giants view it as a potential cash cow — if the tech is developed correctly and adoption picks up.
A close rival of Notable, digital assistant Suki, is already deployed in 150-hospital Ascension, OB-GYN practice giant Unified and 60 to 70 mid- to small-size practices, with two deployment announcements with major U.S. health systems coming soon, its CEO told Healthcare Dive in October.
Notable's get of CommonSpirit gives the two-year-old company an early and significant foothold in the provider space. The two have been working on contracting and integrating Notable's technology for roughly a year, Notable CEO Pranay Kapadia told Healthcare Dive in an interview, calling early user feedback across patients, physicians and clinical administrators "really good."
Prior to a medical appointment, the system assists with intake by prompting the patient via their smartphone to register, verifies insurance eligibility and allows patients to enter symptoms, update medications and refresh their history.
Using robotic process automation, Notable inputs patient-provided data into the EHR and the provider's other IT systems, without a human interaction.
During the visit, physicians will use Notable's voice-enabled assistant on their Apple Watch to automatically document the conversation. Over time, the system personalizes its prompts and workflow using artificial intelligence, learning a physician's preferences with use.
"When we engage patients with Notable's digital experiences, the time they spend with their physician becomes more relevant," Rich Roth, SVP and chief strategic innovation officer at CommonSpirit, said in a statement.
CommonSpirit, created in February through a merger between Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health, has been looking to cut down on operating expenses. The Chicago-based system reported a quadrupled operating loss in the first quarter of its fiscal year, and hopes to save roughly $2 billion through streamlined operations and internal restructuring over the next four years.
Startups and established players alike such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon are working on ways to ease documentation overload as well.
Previous provider deals for Notable include Houston Methodist and Austin Regional Medical Clinic in Central Texas. The startup is backed by high-profile investors, including Greylock Partners, one of the country's oldest VC firms, and health tech investors F-Prime and Oak HC/FT.
Going forward, Kapadia hinted CommonSpirit has a few "really cool initiatives we're excited to be a part of that I'm sure they'll announce soon."