Epic to use NLP to aid documentation, decision support

Epic will use natural language processing technology from Nuance Communications to improve physician documentation of care while also offering a higher level of clinical decision support during documentation.

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Epic executives say they expect to leverage artificial intelligence capabilities within Nuance’s computer-assisted physician documentation software to deliver real-time clinical documentation recommendations as the document is being created.

When a physician is creating a text note in Epic, Nuance will analyze prior notes to identify clinical indicators in the patient’s medical record that should be placed in the new note—for example, it could determine from previous information that the patient is allergic to penicillin.

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The Epic-Nuance collaboration also will support physicians making rounds in the hospital, according to an Epic spokesman. A patient in the hospital for several days generates a significant amount of documentation, and Epic can push that documentation over to Nuance to review certain key terms and elements that should be in the notes to help the physician determine if the patient is getting better or worse.

The goal, according to the Epic spokesman, is to facilitate more complete documentation—using this approach will help capture important bits of information that are easy to miss now, making them available for inclusion in the note.

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