- Meditech and Nuance are teaming up to combine AI-powered voice technology with EHRs.
- The arrangement calls for integrating Nuance's Dragon Medical Virtual Assistant into Meditech's Expanse EHR, with the aim of improving clinician workflows and allowing doctors to spend more face time with patients.
- In a proof-of-concept demonstration, the virtual assistant-enabled workflows were able to conversationally retrieve patient lists, search patient charts for lab results and other information and queue work-related orders.
Physicians are eager for any tools that can help to reduce the increasing demands of EHR inputting and regulatory reporting requirements. In a new Medscape survey, 44% of U.S. physicians said they feel burned out, and more than a third (34%) cite EHRs as major cause.
Voice assistants are a promising means of reducing administrative overload and freeing up doctors' time for patients, as companies look to capitalize on Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Nuance and other voice-activated platforms. According to Global Market Insights, the virtual health assistant market will surpass $1.5 billion by 2024.
In September, Mayo Clinic launched a health-related voice control Alexa skill aimed at providing people with first aid advice. Cigna also has an Alexa skill, Answers by Cigna, aimed at educating consumers on 150 frequently asked healthcare questions.
Last fall, startup Aiva Health announced an infusion from the Google Assistant Investment Program to support development of its AI-powered voice assistant. The company said it would use the undisclosed sum to speed development and commercialization of its voice assistant platform.
Howard LeWine, Meditech's physician consultant, said, "When I am rounding, I regularly need to quickly access information in the chart and submit orders on the fly. By using Nuance's Virtual Assistant, I can easily ask for the chart information, such as last KDG or colonoscopy report, and order tests and medications without interrupting my interaction with the patient."
The companies will showcase the technology at HIMSS 2019 in Orlando, Florida, on Feb. 11-15.