Microsoft and Nuance announce collaboration to transform the doctor-patient experience

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Back in the day a visit to the doctor’s office was a more fulfilling experience for the patient. The doctor would ask them questions about their health condition and their medications. The entire time the doctor’s focus would be on the patient and not on a computer screen and the doctor wouldn’t be pecking on the keyboard or search for the patient’s medical record on the computer. However, this scenario is far from the norm today.

But all these might change because of artificial intelligence (AI). According to experts, in an exam room of the future, the doctor would be able to call up a lab result or prescribe a new medicine with a simple voice command. The doctor wouldn’t be distracted by entering symptoms into your electronic health record (EHR).

Now, software provider Nuance Communications and Microsoft have partnered to transform the clinical experience for doctors and patients. The companies said their partnership will accelerate the delivery of ambient clinical intelligence (ACI) technologies that will power the exam room of the future where clinical documentation writes itself, reports Microsoft.

The Nuance-Microsoft partnership will bring together leading technologies from both companies:

  • Nuance’s healthcare-optimized speech recognition and processing solutions such as its Dragon Medical platform already used by more than 500,000 physicians worldwide; advanced conversational AI for ambient clinical documentation and decision support; voice biometrics; and specialized ambient sensing hardware
  • Microsoft Azure, Azure AI and Project EmpowerMD Intelligent Scribe Service backed with advanced conversational AI and natural language understanding


Image: Pexels (Immortal Shots)

“The Microsoft partnership will accelerate our ability to solve for healthcare’s most pressing challenges — together,” said Mark Benjamin, Nuance CEO. “The ambient technologies we will jointly deliver can improve productivity and professional satisfaction, while empowering doctors to focus on what they do best: take care of patients.”

Physician burnout is at epidemic levels. A recent study shows that primary care doctors now spend two hours on administrative tasks for every hour they’re involved in direct patient care. Physicians reported one to two hours of after-hours work each night, mostly related to administrative tasks.

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, said, “We have an incredible opportunity to use advances in cloud and AI technology to transform healthcare delivery. Together with Nuance, we will apply the power of Azure and Azure AI to this challenge, with the aim of improving the day-to-day life of firstline healthcare workers everywhere — so they can provide better care.”

The companies will expand upon Nuance’s early success with ACI and expect to introduce the technology to an initial set of physician specialties in early 2020. Built on Microsoft Azure, this new technology will marry the two companies’ strengths in developing ambient sensing and conversational AI solutions, including ambient listening, wake-up word, voice biometrics, signal enhancement, document summarization, natural language understanding, clinical intelligence and text-to-speech.


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