Nuance and Microsoft partner to transform the doctor-patient experience

Strategic partnership accelerates the delivery of ambient technologies to reduce clinician burnout by enabling doctors to focus on patients, while AI focuses on administrative tasks

Nuance Communications and Microsoft Corp have announced a partnership to help transform healthcare delivery for a more-sustainable future.

Together, the companies will accelerate the delivery of ambient clinical intelligence (ACI) technologies that will power the exam room of the future where clinical documentation writes itself.

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

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

  • Nuance’s healthcare-optimised 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 specialised ambient sensing hardware
  • Microsoft Azure, Azure AI, and Project EmpowerMD Intelligent Scribe Service backed with advanced conversational AI and natural language understanding

“The Microsoft partnership will accelerate our ability to solve healthcare’s most-pressing challenges - together,” said Mark Benjamin, Nuance chief executive.

“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, with a a recent study showing that primary care doctors now spend two hours on administrative tasks for every hour they’re involved in direct patient care.

And physicians reported one to two hours of after-hours work each night, mostly related to administrative tasks.

Microsoft chief executive, Satya Nadella, commented: “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.”

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

Working in tandem with long-term electronic health record (EHR) partners to develop the technology, ACI will deliver a seamless and engaging interaction between clinicians and patients.

Through patient consent, ACI will synthesise patient-clinician conversations, integrate that data with contextual information from the EHR, and auto-populate the patient’s medical record in the system.

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 summarisation, natural language understanding, clinical intelligence, and text-to-speech.

As part of the agreement, Nuance will also migrate the majority of its current on-premises internal infrastructure and hosted products to Microsoft Azure.

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