Amazon Launches Medical Transcription Service in Direct Competition with Nuance
Amazon is offering a new automated transcription service for medical professionals as a way of reducing the costs and time necessary for clinical paperwork. The Amazon Transcribe Medical feature turns conversations between doctors and their patients into text via a voice app and Amazon Web Services.
Amazon Transcribe Medical is not very different from the voice-to-text services in terms of how it is run, including Amazon Transcribe. Like Amazon Transcribe, Amazon Transcribe Medical is HIPAA-eligible, protecting the discussion with a patient the same as other confidential medical information. What makes the feature more useful for medical professionals that the previous iteration is improved accuracy, specifically for medical and health terms. Amazon worked with electronic health record (EHR) firm Cerner and clinical voice assistant startup Suki to develop the new feature.
Instead of relying on note-taking, doctors can simply turn on the transcription via a request to a smart speaker. Once the conversation is over and the doctor ends the transcription, the finished script is added to the patient’s medical records. The transcriptions are fairly raw, without other relevant details included. But, once it is in the system, AWS suggests applying Amazon Comprehend Medical, another HIPAA-eligible service, capable of analyzing the text for patterns that match medical texts and marking potential diagnoses and treatment plans to the doctor.
Doctor Talk Debate
These kinds of apps can make a huge difference to doctors. It’s much faster than manually transcribing a recording and provides more information than just a doctor’s notes. Saving time and effort on paperwork means more time for the doctor to focus on medical care. It also lessens the likelihood of a doctor burning out, as administrative work is one of the most common reasons doctors leave the profession, according to an Annals of Family Medicine study.
The value of applying voice and AI technology to medical records is well understood. Nuance and Microsoft came together this fall to improve and deploy Nuance’s Dragon Medical Virtual Assistant with Microsoft’s Azure platform. The virtual assistant both transcribes conversations between doctors and patients and automatically fills in details about the patient for their file. Google is working on its own medical transcription service in partnership with Stanford University and has a non-exclusive arrangement with Suki as well. While the details and business relationships differ, the overall goal of improving medical care makes these features valuable and likely to become more common in hospitals and doctor’s offices.