Nuance Debuts New Universal Healthcare Virtual Assistant Platform
Nuance has launched a new virtual assistant platform to streamline the way healthcare providers use AI to connect to patients in light of increased demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new platform unifies the AI tools to ensure the interactions are the same regardless of the channel used, including text and voice formats.
Nuance has been building its healthcare services at a steady clip for a few years, but the last year has seen a spike in interest from healthcare providers escalated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new platform synthesizes the existing services Nuance provides, from the new COVID-19 vaccine bot to telemedicine appointment organizers and more. The entire portfolio now encompasses voice and text channels, including mobile apps, websites, and voice apps on smart speakers. Instead of multiple products, a hospital or healthcare provider would just need a single program, which could then be deployed wherever they wish. The platform is built on Microsoft Azure, which Nuance moved its healthcare services to a little over a year ago. The new platform includes the complete collection of Nuance health tech, including the clinical voice assistant and electronic health record management.
“Our new omnichannel Patient Engagement Virtual Assistant Platform takes a holistic approach to powering healthcare’s new digital front door, overcoming the shortcomings and inconsistencies of partial point solutions,” Nuance senior vice president Peter Durlach said in a statement. “By marrying the capabilities of our healthcare experience and the proven omnichannel customer engagement technology trusted by Fortune 100 companies worldwide, we can help address the urgent need of providers and patients alike to transform access to, and delivery of, care in the modern age of digital medicine.”
AI All Over
As for why Nuance decided to make the change, the more people use AI for medical services, the more demand grows, and the more discerning the customers may become. Nuance cites a study showing nearly half of the public is interested in telemedicine, and more than a quarter switch medical providers if they have a bad digital experience. Though specialized for health providers, the new platform is essentially the same tools. Nuance offers clients in other industries. Healthcare has been an important part of Nuance’s business since it launched Dragon Medical as an enhancement for the existing Dragon transcription program. But there’s no question that the pandemic has altered the calculation of how valuable the technology is with healthcare, with unprecedented levels of calls and messages to healthcare providers.
“When [healthcare providers] started to go virtual, the digital front door lit up,” Nuance CTO Joe Petro told Voicebot founder Bret Kinsella in a recent podcast interview. “Folks realized we can’t put enough people on the phone lines to deal with the surge of questions they were getting on COVID. So, putting virtual agents in all those digital channels, that kind of lit up [in response]. Healthcare really woke up in a way [to the technology].”