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Healthcare & AI: ‘We are not in Star Trek territory … yet’

Over the next few years, a staggering 90% of business intelligence tools are expected to add natural language processing to their functions.

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An explosion of AI-related products predicted in 2018 in healthcare.

Artificial Intelligence has been at the core of our healthcare technology solutions for years, but the rest of the business world is realizing the power causing an explosion of AI-related products predicted in 2018.

Gartner recently issued its list of Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends of 2018, with AI-powered tools dominating the list, thanks to factors like the maturation of machine learning fueled by massive amounts of data and new algorithms, said Gartner VP David W. Cearley.

Over the next few years, a staggering 90% of business intelligence tools are expected to add natural language processing to their functions, Cearley predicted.  Healthcare virtual assistants, like our Dragon Medical Virtual Assistant, are expected to take a larger role in not only clinical processes, but also in more general patient service ways, such as providing “augmented intelligence” to clinicians and hospital staff and even improving the discharge process.

We are not in Star Trek territory … yet, Cearley said. These devices are expected to stay mostly restricted to controlled and regulated environments for the time being. But the technology will be creeping into the mainstream as we continue to automate tasks that are conversationally repetitive and mundane. Gartner’s 2017 prediction list suggested that by 2020 – believe it or not – the average consumer will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse.

Some of our Dragon Medical One clients are already thinking out of the box and asking us how they can go beyond the EHR and leverage the investment they have made in the thousands of TVs installed in hospital rooms.

What if a physician could walk in to a patient’s room, and through a virtual assistant that’s connected to the TV, see the patient’s medical record on screen?  That kind of capability is not too far in the future.

We have a vision at Nuance that one day the physician will walk in the exam room and go about their examination with the patient while the room displays information as requested and records the entire conversation in the appropriate fields in the EHR all from the context of the conversation.   We are working to make this vision a reality.

You can find the complete list of Gartner’s 2018 predictions here.

Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to learn more.

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Nuance Healthcare’s Mission is to serve as the trusted strategic partner for healthcare organizations by delivering world-class clinical documentation solutions that optimize clinical and financial outcomes in the global shift to value based care. We are in a great position to drive that change by improving the physician experience and driving language and meaning back into the patient record. That is our purpose and we achieve it in tight partnership with our EMR partners and clients. Our people, our purpose is to support our clients’ mission of caring for patients, and we do that by impacting clinical documentation and driving quality and financial outcomes that are pivotal to their success. This “client-in” culture at Nuance Healthcare underlies all we do, make, sell and share, and it’s why we ended up in this week’s Healthcare Informatics HCI Top 100 issue as one of the “Most Interesting Vendors of 2015.” This is an honor we attribute to our clients who are striving to make healthcare better and improve the patient experience in partnership with us. This article features one of our clients, Dr. R. Hal Baker, senior vice president, clinical improvement and CIO of WellSpan Health, who shares how important language is to convey caring and context and certainty in healthcare. “Nuance helped us insert back into the patient record, spoken language, and from that language, technology can pull data and make it actionable rather than favoring the business side of healthcare over the clinical. We are making people feel cared for and safe. That is our mission. We are caring for people, not just caring for a business or disease,” says Baker. What drives our healthcare teams is our commitment to helping hospitals, clinics, radiology centers, physician practices, and large organizations deliver high quality care to their communities. By bringing revolutionary technology and clinical solutions to the forefront, we keep them from buckling under the demands for data. These innovations enable physicians to practice the art of medicine, focus on patients, and avoid the distraction of documentation, computer screens or billing codes. That’s getting much harder for them to do. Beyond speech recognition, we leverage clinical language understanding (CLU) and AI to bring decisions and information to the forefront and drive insights and meaning into the hands of physicians, helping them efficiently engage patients and other physicians. For patients this means that rather than looking at the doctor’s back during a visit, you look at his/her eyes, and you feel that personal touch when dealing with an already intense situation. We at Nuance Healthcare envision a day when the doctor and patient are engaged in a very compassionate conversation, and technology and solutions assist in the background completely capturing the interaction in a note, and communicating it properly in different ways, all while the doctor stays focused on the patient. Gone are the days where we just captured information and put it in resting place. Now with technology and cognitive computing and AI, we are able to improve clinical notes, annotate them, and leverage virtual assistants — all with the intent of improving the quality and efficiency of the physician note to help both the clinical and financial side of healthcare. We pride ourselves in driving better quality of documentation and better clinical and financial outcomes. As Dr. Baker so articulately shared, Nuance supports healthcare as a business, medicine as a science and healing as an art. It is an honor for Nuance to be named the Most Interesting Vendor of 2015. As a company, we will continue our relentless pursuit of reinventing the clinician experience to allow them to spend more time with patients.
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