AI in Action at Vanderbilt University Medical Center


Healthcare IT News reported last week on a new and exciting development in healthcare AI: Vanderbilt University Medical Center has collaborated with Nuance to create an AI-powered voice assistant for providers to navigate their Epic EHR.

Much like the AI in Action experience room we hosted at HIMSS 2018, Vanderbilt caregivers now can rely on a natural language, conversational interface to query the EHR, even asking general questions of the voice assistant. For example, a caregiver can say, “Dragon, how much does the patient weigh?” or “Dragon, show me the latest chest x-ray.” In response, the EHR will provide the caregiver with the necessary summary or images, eliminating the typical, manual keyboard-and-mouse navigation.

AI in Action is all about making it easier to not only efficiently and conveniently retrieve information from the EHR, but also to enter data, manage tasks, use computerized physician order entry, and communicate with other providers. With this collaboration, we’re beginning to see and implement considerable steps toward fully automated clinical documentation, where one day a virtual assistant will be able to listen to a conversation and automatically build the documentation in real time.

Technologically speaking, these strides represent significant advances that demonstrate how far we have come in terms of building AI platforms and development toolkits in the cloud. But healthcare is personal, and these advances are far more than technical marvels. They’re enabling physicians to minimize the documentation burden and free up more time to focus on patients — improving the delivery of patient care and outcomes.