In healthcare, many advances in technology are designed to give clinicians two things: more time and more information. More time to spend connecting with patients and exploring their needs and more information to find the correct diagnosis and treatment plan. Patients who have a closer, more collaborative relationship with their clinician are more engaged and proactive with their health, which is linked to better care outcomes. But with clinicians almost universally experiencing burnout due to high workloads, those relationships are difficult to sustain without the right tools and support.
To give clinicians more time to focus on their patients, the industry needs to target their heaviest workloads. For most (82% of physicians and 73% of nurses in our own research), clinical documentation is the most disruptive—but it’s also vital. Comprehensive documentation is the cornerstone of accurate diagnoses and continuity of care. The electronic health record (EHR) is a great example of how healthcare documentation is becoming increasingly digitized. Indeed, it’s powerful tool for creating a centralized resource for patient data, but that improvement in information access can come to the detriment of clinicians’ time if workflows aren’t optimized; studies report a long-term increase in workload following EHR adoption.
So how do you balance documentation workloads with patient interaction? We spoke to the team at Leon Medical Centers in Miami, Florida, about how its progressive approach to AI impacts everyday care delivery, and helps its clinicians strive for higher-quality care and documentation excellence.
Providing care for thousands of Miami’s citizens
Leon Medical Centers (Leon) is an integrated care system that provides care for more than 42,000 Medicare patients across the Miami-Dade County area. Its expansive network of facilities—which includes primary and urgent care, diagnostics, specialist resources, and even dental care—is based across seven centers, where over 2,600 clinical and support staff work together to coordinate care. As you can imagine, this vast range of care provision requires extensive documentation, which Leon largely manages through its Epic EHR.
“At Leon Medical Centers, accurate, thorough, and efficient documentation are at the core of managing the care of our patients,” explained Marcus Gomez, Senior Vice President, and CIO at Leon Medical Centers. “Our clinicians entered patient data directly in the EHR using a mouse and keyboard or worked with scribes to dictate their notes. We wanted to be progressive with the tools our clinicians use and give them an option to use voice recognition technology to efficiently document care.”
There’s a strong culture of innovation at Leon, which is driving teams to adopt new processes and technologies across multiple disciplines. So, taking inspiration from the radiology team’s experience with Nuance PowerScribe One, our radiology workflow and reporting solution, Leon adopted Dragon Medical One for its clinicians. Dragon is a conversational AI workflow assistant and documentation companion, designed to aid, assist, and advise clinicians working with patients—from pre-charting to post-encounter. The team also adopted Nuance PowerMic, our ergonomic handheld microphone with added navigation capabilities.
Now, clinicians like Dr. Jose Ferrer, Director of Urology at Leon Medical Centers, can use intuitive, integrated voice skills to navigate the Epic EHR and speech-to-text update patient records. “I can document and chart with however much detail I want. It makes me very efficient, and at the same time allows me to individualize for each patient, and to document appropriately, which in the end is to the patient’s benefit,” he explained.
Dr. Haleem Mohammed, Regional Medical Director at Leon Medical Centers, agreed. “Dragon has improved our speed and efficiency,” he said. “The downstream effect is improved patient satisfaction and physician satisfaction. They’re allowed to spend more time with the patients because they’re not focused on typing notes.”
Strengthening the patient-provider experience
Although improved speed and efficiency are excellent outcomes for Leon, in healthcare, the most important measure of success is how a new technology initiative changes the patient experience. Using a conversational AI assistant to document patient encounters is helping Leon’s clinicians provide an even higher standard of care for its patients, building that collaborative connection and allowing teams to make more informed decisions about patient care.
“If you document in a more detailed fashion, which under any other circumstance will be very time-consuming, then you can follow the patient’s specific conditions in a more effective way, and the outcomes improve,” said Dr. Ferrer. “I had a patient who had been seen by at least eight or nine different urologists over the years, without them being able to really pay attention to what the patient was feeling and what his medical condition was. It took a long time to search and figure out exactly what was going on. And it was only through that kind of detailed documentation that was able to follow the patient’s symptoms over time that allowed me to finally figure it out and fix the problem.”
The workflows that support life-changing healthcare
Leon’s story is so inspiring, both in the way speech recognition supports clinicians in their work and how it helps improve patients’ outcomes. Leon’s progressive approach to finding new ways to streamline patient experiences is one to emulate; proactive improvement, through advanced AI or even small process changes, can help alleviate stressful workloads before they reach burnout territory, protecting clinicians and ensuring care is there when patients need it.
To hear about the real impact of improved documentation—especially in cases like Dr. Ferrer’s patient, who had waited years for diagnosis and treatment before he came to Leon Medical Centers—really puts the importance of time and information into perspective. With a more streamlined documentation workflow, Dr. Ferrer could dedicate time and attention to working with his patient to explore their symptoms and history, ultimately finding the right diagnosis and cure. Leon’s doctors have joined the ranks of patient experience pioneers, using advanced AI to continue their life-changing work. It’s great to see the impact it’s having on everyday patient interactions—and we’re so interested to see its continuing role in Leon’s care delivery.