Microsoft Extends Nuance Clinical Voice Tech from Doctor’s Office to Teams for Telemedicine
Doctors doing virtual check-ups over Microsoft Teams can now leverage Nuance’s ambient clinical intelligence (ACI) to transcribe the conversation and help fill in electronic health records (EHRs). The new Teams feature brings Microsoft and Nuance’s medical AI partnership from the office to the digital realm during the current boom in telemedicine due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.
The Nuance Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX) works as a kind of invisible doctor’s administrative assistant. DAX transcribes the conversation between the doctor and patient for later referral without pulling the doctor’s attention from what the patient is saying. The AI understands the context of the data it collects well enough to update the patient’s EHR where relevant, collating everything for the doctor to approve without spending a lot of time checking boxes and filling in forms. Microsoft and Nuance first started working on distributing the technology through the Azure cloud platform last fall. Still, the coronavirus pandemic has seen both a rise in telemedicine, between 50 and 175 times as many telemedical visits, according to a McKinsey report, even as the demand for the time and energy of medical practitioners has spiked. Bringing DAX to Teams could limit doctor burnout from administrative overload, a real problem even before the spread of COVID-19.
“Through our strategic partnership with Nuance, we are combining the best in Nuance’s conversational AI technology with Microsoft Teams, Azure and Azure AI to accelerate and scale the development and adoption of innovative solutions that emphasize the essential and personal aspect of quality healthcare between a physician and patient,” Microsoft Health Dr. Gregory Moore said in a statement. “This important milestone and the integration of Microsoft Teams within the Nuance DAX solution will empower front-line care providers to positively transform the patient care experience.”
The interest in medical transcription and analysis has led to rapid growth in the industry with startups like Saykara and Suki raising $9 million and $40 million, respectively, for their takes on the technology. Suki is also being used as a feature in larger products like Amazon’s Amazon Transcribe Medical. Nuance, as a leader in voice and AI tech, has seen a boom for a lot of its health-related products. Most recently, health technology developer Cerner added the Dragon Medical Virtual Assistant to its platform, allowing doctors using Cerner’s platform to fill in and search EHRs of patients by voice. More than half a million physicians already use Dragon Medical, and the company claims it cuts the time spent on paperwork by up to 75%. Applying those benefits to telehealth via Teams will likely raise increase DAX’s spread significantly.
“The dramatic growth of telehealth represents a unique opportunity to use Nuance DAX ambient clinical intelligence technology to transform healthcare experiences and define what healthcare providers and consumers should expect from advanced digital health solutions,” said Nuance executive vice president and general manager of healthcare Diana Nolesaid in a statement. “Our strategic partnership with Microsoft, which led to this rapid integration of Nuance DAX with Microsoft Teams for telehealth, illustrates the ongoing importance of combining our technologies, domain expertise and market reach to develop advanced cloud-based conversational AI solutions that keep the health of clinicians and patients front and center in healthcare delivery.”