Epic, Nuance collaborate to add AI-enabled virtual assistance

Epic and Nuance are working together to expand virtual assistant capabilities available through Epic apps.

In the joint initiative, Nuance is including the first commercially available voice-enabled workflows through Epic’s applications. The collaboration will provide new capabilities to physician users, expanding conversational virtual assistant capabilities that use artificial intelligence.

The companies say that physicians at more than 100 healthcare organizations already have access to Nuance’s Dragon Medical through Epic’s Haiku application that enable them to create voice-driven clinical documentation. The new capabilities support voice-enabled workflows through Epic Rover, enabling clinicians to interact with the system to make orders through voice commands and interactions.

Nuance and Epic demonstrated the capabilities to Epic users at its annual Users Group Meeting in August in Verona, Wis. Nuance was demonstrating early capabilities of the virtual assistant at the 2018 HIMSS conference. In that use, physicians are able to use technology in treatment rooms in use voice commands to query the system for options and seamlessly record orders into a records system.

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The companies say the new capabilities will enable physicians using Nuance’s Dragon Medical in Epic mobile apps to conversationally retrieve schedules, look up patient information, laboratory results, medication lists and visit summaries.

“With the availability of these advanced capabilities and our shared vision for ambient clinical documentation, we look forward to continuing our development with Nuance and delivering next generation conversational AI-powered virtual assistant solutions to the Epic client community,” says Adam Whitlatch, vice president of research and development for Epic.

Nuance and Epic are also working closely with joint clients like Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which is leveraging Nuance’s Dragon Medical virtual assistant technology integrated into Epic. These solutions make it easier for physicians at Vanderbilt to retrieve information from the EHR more efficiently and conveniently, as well as enter data, manage tasks, use computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and communicate with other providers.

“We have worked closely with Nuance and Epic and have found that using Nuance’s voice assistant with Epic not only helps us empower our physicians through voice, but enables us to leverage virtual assistants to assist with tasks while supporting HIPAA compliance,” says Yaa Kumah-Crystal, MD, assistant professor of biomedical informatics and pediatric endocrinology at Vanderbilt.

“We believe the incorporation of voice assistants in the provider workflow can enhance the delivery of care and we will continue to team with leaders in health IT to deliver on this commitment,” Kumah-Crystal adds. “One of our physicians described the platform like a helpful intern always ready with an answer.”

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