Doctors practice medicine to deliver care, not do data entry. Yet in the era of electronic medical records (EMRs), for every hour spent with a patient, physicians spend nearly two hours on paperwork. What if technology could take care of the paperwork for us? Record-keeping systems in health care were built for back-office functions, not bedside medicine. Most EMR vendors started out building products to collect payments and schedule appointments.
"Siri, where is the nearest Starbucks?" "Suki, let's get Mr. Jones a two-week run of clarithromycin and schedule him back here for a follow-up in two weeks." Doesn't sound that crazy, does it? For years, voice assistants have been changing the way people shop, get around, and manage their home entertainment systems. Now they're starting to show up someplace even a little more personal: the doctor's office.
Rx.Health is adding a suite of tools to prevent physician burnout. How do you keep physicians from being overwhelmed by a mountain of paperwork? Give them a voice assistant, similar to Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri. That's the thinking behind Suki, a Redwood City-based startup that recently struck a partnership with Mount Sinai Health System spinoff Rx.Health. Rx.Health curates digital tools for doctors, allowing them to prescribe digital therapeutics and care plans from electronic health record systems.
Amazon's next big step in health care is with voice transcription technology that's designed to allow doctors to spend more time with patients and less time at the computer. At Amazon Web Services' re:Invent conference on Tuesday, the company is launching a service called Amazon Transcribe Medical, which transcribes doctor-patient interactions and plugs the text straight into the medical record. "Our overarching goal is to free up the doctor, so they have more attention going to where it should be directed," said Matt Wood, vice president of artificial intelligence at AWS. "And that's to the patient." At last year's re:Invent, AWS introduced a related service called Amazon Comprehend Medical, which "allows developers to process unstructured medical text and identify information such as patient diagnosis, treatments, dosages, symptoms and signs, and more," according to a blog post. Wood said the two services are linked and can be used together.
Jim Andrews is in a medical office wearing just a hospital gown, staring at his doctor of 11 years, who is staring back at him through the sleek, metallic lens of Google Glass. As the doctor examines Andrews, a new kind of medical scribe is watching the examination, transcribing everything he sees. The scribe, named Rahul, is thousands of miles away in India, and he is viewing the office visit live through the pint-size, WiFi-connected camera attached to the doctor's glasses. "When was his last physical?" Rahul's nearly immediate answer pops up in a text bubble display in the right corner of the doctor's field of vision.