Microsoft, Nuance Partner on ambient clinical intelligence for physicians

The ACI platform, which the companies say can ease administrative burden by streamlining documentation, has been rolled out to some customers in beta and is planned to launch in early 2020 across several specialties.
By Nathan Eddy
11:34 AM

Conversational AI specialist Nuance and software giant Microsoft are partnering to help reduce the amount of administrative work associated with documenting patient care.

The agreement will see both companies accelerate the delivery of ambient clinical intelligence technologies, which can help improve productivity by streamlining administrative tasks.

ACI is built on Nuance’s Dragon Medical One cloud platform and speech recognition and natural language understanding technology, enhanced by the company’s domain expertise and healthcare optimized conversational AI solutions already in use around the world.

The partnership between Microsoft and Nuance combines Nuance’s expertise in conversational AI, clinical documentation and decision-support solutions for healthcare with Microsoft’s strengths in delivering cloud and AI solutions.

The two companies will also work closely in sync with their electronic health record partners to improve the clinician experience.

Dragon Medical One, a secure, cloud-based speech platform for physicians and other clinicians, already helps to securely document patient care in an EHR.

The ACI platform has already begun to roll out to select customers in beta form, and the companies plan to formally introduce the joint technology in early 2020 across several key specialties, as well as expanding capabilities for additional specialties over the following 24 months.

"For every hour spent with patients, physicians spend two hours on administrative tasks," Peter Durlach, senior vice president of healthcare strategy and acting GM at Nuance, told Healthcare IT News. "This has led to an increase in job dissatisfaction and burnout, and studies show that clinicians are becoming increasingly more burned out."

Durlach said with patient consent, ACI synthesizes ambient patient-clinician conversations, integrates that data with contextual information from the EHR, and auto-populates the patient’s medical record in the system.

"The goal is to deliver a seamless and engaging interaction between clinicians and patients," he said. "With more time and attention paid to the patient, we can improve the exam room experience and, most importantly, the quality of care.

"In a modern doctor’s office, you may notice your physician’s eyes locked onto a computer screen, rather than focused directly on your needs as a patient," he added. "ACI is meant to remove the administrative burdens from physicians so they can focus on what matters – you."

Nuance recently announced expanded Clinical Guidance for Dragon Medical Advisor, the company’s workflow-integrated, and AI-powered Computer-Assisted Physician Documentation application, which is accessible through Dragon Medical One.

Greg Moore, Microsoft corporate vice president for health technology and alliances, commented via email that Microsoft’s "deep research investments" in AI and commercial relationships with nearly 170,000 healthcare organizations would help enable Nuance to accelerate its vision for ACI and rollout of additional specialties at scale to customers.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com
Twitter: @dropdeaded209

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.