'Hey Cerner': Company seeks health systems to help test new Voice Assist tech

St. Joseph’s Health and Indiana University Health have already enlisted to help refine the EHR voice command tool, and the company has put out the call for other hospitals to do the same.
By Mike Miliard
03:50 PM
Cerner trade show booth

As Cerner gears up to launch its new natural language processing technology, Voice Assist, it is asking for healthcare providers to sign on as new testing partners.

WHY IT MATTERS
The company says Voice Assist will enable easier interaction with Cerner electronic health records, enabling clinicians – by simply saying "Hey Cerner" – to query and retrieve patient data from the EHR, place orders, set up reminders and more.

The goal is time savings, burden reduction and improved provider experience, as EHR clinical end-users can more easily document while navigating the patient record

Cerner says Voice Assist – which is powered by Nuance speech recognition technology and should be available by 2021 – can respond to phrases such as "Remind me to call the patient in six months about their high cholesterol," "Order Lipitor 40 mg oral tablet" and "What is the latest white blood cell count?"

New Jersey-based St. Joseph’s Health and Indiana University Health are two Cerner clients who are already exploring early versions of the new tool.

THE LARGER TREND
Cerner's rival Epic launched its own ambient voice technology – known as Hey Epic, offering a similar range of capabilities – earlier this year.

And, as we showed in this special report, health systems such as Beth Israel Deaconess and Northwell Health have also been finding new and innovative use cases for an array of other voice assistant tools: Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, Google Home and Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, and others.

ON THE RECORD
"St. Joseph’s Health is excited to pilot Cerner’s Voice Assist technology, which will enable our clinicians to complete several tasks in the EHR via voice commands," said Lisa Green, director of clinical information systems at St. Joseph’s Health, in a statement.

"We envision that this technology will be conducive to more meaningful clinician-patient interaction, since the clinicians will spend less time manually documenting. We hope to see improved efficiency, [and] clinician and patient satisfaction throughout this trial period," she added.

"At IU Health, we’re creating designated innovations centers where we trial the latest new technologies in real clinical workflows," said Cliff J. Hohban, vice president of IS, applications & PMO at IU Health. "This allows us to move new tools into our system rapidly and iteratively. We’re excited to pilot Cerner’s Voice Assist, which will allow our clinician’s to handle several tasks in the EHR with their voice."

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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Top row - left to right: Dr Don Rucker, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), HHS Office of the Secretary, US, Tim Kelsey, SVP - Analytics, HIMSS, Australia and Dr Ahmed Balkhair, Saudi Arabia’s Digital Transformation Advisor, Ministry of Health. 

Bottom row: Dr Anne Snowdon, Director of Clinical Research - Analytics, HIMSS, Canada.

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