CA Blues tries Apple Watches, AI to aid data gathering in care settings

Blue Shield of California is hoping to improve the physician-patient connection by having its doctors wear Apple Watches loaded with smart medical assistance.

Blue Shield of California is hoping to improve the physician-patient connection by having its doctors wear Apple Watches loaded with smart medical assistance.

BSC, together with its health services partner Altais, have partnered with Notable Health, a company that provides technology to captures office visits through the use of artificial intelligence.

The data is captured, then the tool adds lab results, prescriptions and referrals, and prepares everything for sign-off for addition to the EHR. In short, the doctor wears the watch, speaks naturally during the office visit, and the technology does the rest.

BSC and Altais are collaborating to bring Notable's technology to BSC’s network of physicians first, and it hopes to expand the venture over time, they say. The Paradise (Calif.) Medical Group is slated to start using the Apple Watches and Notable technology to support patient visits soon and will be the first BSC network physicians to do so, the companies say.

Notable’s platform works with any EHR and is able to adapt to different workflows. When doctors wear an Apple Watch to record patient visits verbally, Notable Health's wearable technology uses machine learning and natural language processing to parse the visit down to its most relevant data for insertion into the EHR, according to BSC. Post-visit, AI-powered technology optimizes charting efficiency by ensuring the proper entry of orders and procedures to generate clean claims, BSC says.

"Our goal is to help physicians seamlessly leverage technology to improve the health and well-being of their patients—all while reducing administrative hassles and enhancing their professional gratification," says Jeff Bailet, MD, president and CEO of Altais. "Notable Health will help us get there with its digital assistant technology that automates manual tasks across any electronic health record."

The arrangement with Notable Health will reduce administrative overhead and enrich doctor-patient relationships through better data collection and transfer, according to BSC. In addition to the benefits to doctors, patients that use Notable’s AI platform on their smartphone have access to a streamlined check-in process that includes appointment reminders, insurance eligibility checks and self-assessment health surveys. The app can be pre-populated with a patient's chart.

"Deploying our technology will improve data quality and help Blue Shield of California partners spend less time documenting care and more time delivering care," says Pranay Kapadia, CEO and co-founder of Notable Health. "We know that better data empowers better outcomes, and we're bridging the data divide between patients, their physicians and payers."

Richard Thorp, MD, president and CEO of Paradise Medical Group, is looking forward to using the technology. "As a general internist taking primary care of an elderly population with multiple complex illnesses, I will now have a maximally efficient workflow, streamlined data entry, and patient input pre-built into each of my patient encounters, and that is extremely exciting," he says. "This partnership with Altais, Notable and Blue Shield is the kind of transformational change that our medical group believes is needed to revitalize healthcare, invigorate the doctor-patient relationship, and return joy to the practice of medicine."