Tech giant Microsoft is teaming up with Nuance Communications to use technology to solve a big pain point for doctors--too much time spent on documenting and administrative tasks. The two companies are collaborating to use ambient technology combined with artificial intelligence, automation and cloud computing to create an exam room experience where the clinical documentation "writes itself," the companies said in a press release. Physician burnout continues to be a significant problem in healthcare. 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.
Imagine a visit to your doctor's office in which your physician asks you how you've been feeling, whether your medication is working or if the shoulder pain from an old fall is still bothering you -- and his or her focus is entirely on you and that conversation. The doctor is looking at you, not at a computer screen. He or she isn't moving a mouse around hunting for an old record or pecking on the keyboard to enter a diagnosis code. This sounds like an ideal scenario, but as most people know from their own visits to the doctor, it's far from the norm today. But experts say that in an exam room of the future enhanced by artificial intelligence, the doctor would be able to call up a lab result or prescribe a new medicine with a simple voice command.
Conversational AI specialist Nuance and software giant Microsoft are partnering to help reduce the amount of administrative work associated with documenting patient care. The agreement will see both companies accelerate the delivery of ambient clinical intelligence technologies, which can help improve productivity by streamlining administrative tasks. ACI is built on Nuance's Dragon Medical One cloud platform and speech recognition and natural language understanding technology, enhanced by the company's domain expertise and healthcare optimized conversational AI solutions already in use around the world. The partnership between Microsoft and Nuance combines Nuance's expertise in conversational AI, clinical documentation and decision-support solutions for healthcare with Microsoft's strengths in delivering cloud and AI solutions. The two companies will also work closely in sync with their electronic health record partners to improve the clinician experience.
Microsoft and Nuance announced Oct. 17 that they are teaming up to create the "exam room of the future" using artificial intelligence and other technologies. The goal is to allow physicians to focus more of their time on patient care rather than administrative tasks, which would reduce burnout rates. Microsoft and Nuance want to build a tool that allows clinical documentation to write itself. Per the agreement, Nuance will incorporate its speech recognition and processing solutions with Microsoft's Azure and Azure AI. The voice-recognition software is already used by more than 500,000 physicians globally.
Physician burnout is one of the most serious conditions in today's medical profession. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality defines the condition as "a long-term stress reaction caused by emotional exhaustion [and] depersonalization," among other factors. According to the American Medical Association, physicians suffer from considerable stress caused by facets of their job that have little to do with actually providing personalized patient care. The AMA reports that physicians spend up to six hours daily working with electronic health records (EHRs) to adhere to government and hospital documentation requirements. That's six hours not spent seeing patients, and thus not having the time to listen carefully and diagnose, empathize, hold a hand, speak with family members, or explain conditions and next steps.