- Nuance, the AI-backed documentation company owned by Microsoft, is integrating its generative artificial intelligence capabilities in electronic health records from Epic, the largest medical software vendor in the U.S. hospital market.
- Nuance’s DAX Express, which listens, transcribes and auto-populates doctor-patient conversations into the medical record, will work in Epic systems for select providers starting this summer, according to the announcement this week.
- Epic is DAX Express’ first native integration, though a Nuance spokesperson stressed it remains EHR agnostic. Nuance plans to add capability for all Epic users in the first quarter of 2024.
Proponents of generative AI technology in healthcare say it could drastically improve medical care delivery, operations and research. Startups with generative AI solutions in healthcare delivery and life sciences have collectively earned more than $20 billion in funding, according to a recent market analysis by health tech-focused VC firms.
Notetaking is one of the most developed spaces for generative AI in healthcare, as companies like Nuance, Suki and Robin vie to leverage new technologies to solve one of the oldest problems in healthcare — onerous documentation requirements on physicians.
Nuance first introduced DAX Express in March. The scribe combines its own AI with OpenAI’s large language model GPT4, the latest iteration of the generative AI technology that backs wildly popular internet chatbot ChatGPT. Large language models are trained to recognize and respond to text based off data they scrape from the web.
DAX Express is notably faster than old Nuance products, turning around notes in seconds instead of hours, the company says.
That’s because DAX Express is fully automated, taking out the human reviewer for quality control in Nuance’s existing medical scribe service, Dragon Ambient Experience. The automation raises questions about quality, given AI still has a ways to go in addressing some limitations in text generation.
Nuance has yet to publish accuracy measures for its AI-backed transcription tools.
“Nuance focuses on the outcomes that customers achieve. We will publish outcomes data when the product is generally available,” a Nuance spokesperson said.
Critics are airing concerns that AI companies move too fast to implement their technology in hospitals without proper oversight. Such fears have given rise to some safety-focused organizations advocating implementation slow down, including a new transatlantic Responsible AI in Healthcare consortium.
Microsoft acquired Nuance in 2021 for almost $20 billion, two years after it first partnered with the voice-to-text company. The deal doubled Microsoft’s total addressable market in the healthcare provider space.
Microsoft has been working separately with Epic on generative AI. Microsoft recently unveiled plans to embed generative AI into Epic records, for use cases like automatically drafting replies to patient messages and more easily querying databases.