Medical transcription services and software vendor Nuance Communications has acquired rival Webmedx, a 2010 Best in KLAS award winner for customer satisfaction, bringing more than 100 new hospital clients and complementary technologies into its business. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Much of what both companies do is complementary. Nuance offers outsourced transcription services on-shore and off-shore and will continue to offer Webmedx's on-shore transcription services. Both companies offer dictation services with speech recognition capability. And both offer natural language processing technology to extract text or voice information and convert it into discrete data.

Nuance's technology, for instance, enables a computer to read and understand text and abstract data. If a dictated medical transcription describes a gall bladder inflammation, this can be interpreted as the medical term "cholecystitis" so that the patient record accurately reflects the diagnosis.

Webmedx's natural language processing technology, called QualityAnalytics, enables the mining of discrete data from a transcribed report. Data from the reports can be combined with data mined from an organization's electronic health records systems to aid in data analysis and meeting core measures reporting requirements. This data analytics capability was very attractive to Nuance, according to a spokesperson.

Nuance in February teamed with IBM Corp. and two universities to develop and commercialize the analytics capabilities of IBM's Watson supercomputer for the health care environment.



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