Using artificial intelligence, speech recognition to optimize note taking

By Benjamin Harris
11:57 AM
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A new AI service promises to improve physician performance by doing the typing for them.
Using artificial intelligence, speech recognition to optimize note taking

With the combined technologies of two companies, note taking for obstetrics is about to become a lot more automated, streamlined and personal.

What happened?

Unified, a large technology and services provider for OB/GYN practices, and Suki, an artificial intelligence-powered medical assistant for clinicians, are pairing up to roll out a note taking platform that uses voice commands and speech recognition.

As a doctor uses the service more, the AI will understand a clinician’s vocabulary, style and habits and will be able to document care more precisely while taking up less human time, the companies explained. The goal of the service is to generate higher quality clinical data resulting in a medical action plan all through voice recognition and AI-interpreted commands.

Unified notes that for every hour spent with a patient, a clinician spends two hours documenting the interaction and developing a care plan.

What is the trend?

The battle to free physicians from the shackles of the electronic health record rages on, and AI-powered speech recognition is another front in the fight.

Since the implementation of EHRs, physicians have pushed back against the amount of time they must spend in front of a keyboard, arguing that they are not data entry workers and the new requirements of documentation take away from their time with the patient. Speech recognition-based EHR optimization has been shown in a variety of clinical settings to help reduce the amount of data entry required as well as improve physician performance.

“Women’s healthcare is incredibly personal, and Suki helps providers to concentrate on providing exceptional care by lowering the barrier created by EHRs,” contended Dr. Matt Eakins, chief operating officer at Unified. “Suki not only helps our providers more accurately document the care they deliver, but enhances clinician experience and helps us address provider burnout.”

Why it matters?

With the gains electronic documentation and record-keeping promise comes a host of new challenges and tasks to be added to a doctor’s already burgeoning workload.

EHR-induced burnout causes physician performance failure, unauthorized workarounds, and exactly the sort of lapses in care the systems were designed to prevent. Speech recognition looks like a solution that can shave tremendous amounts of time off of a doctor’s day while at the same time allowing them to produce the high-quality clinical documentation that improves care and simplifies billing, experts suggested.

Additionally, taking a doctor’s focus off of a computer screen and back toward a patient during a visit improves the patient experience and helps build a provider-patient bond that medicine is in danger of losing due to an overreliance on EHRs.

On the record

“Partnering with a company like Unified and its rapidly growing national network of women’s health care providers allows us to continue giving doctors more control of the time in their day – at scale,” said Dr. Nathan Gunn, Suki’s chief operating officer.

Benjamin Harris is a Maine-based freelance writer and former new media producer for HIMSS Media.
Twitter: @BenzoHarris.