University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Nuance Communications Inc. will jointly develop speech recognition and clinical language understanding technologies under a 10-year agreement.

UPMC also will standardize 20 hospitals, 30 imaging centers and 400 outpatient sites on Nuance's Dragon Medical Enterprise speech recognition software and the eScription software that turns dictations into formatted draft documents for transcriptionists to edit.

Nuance's clinical language understanding technology enables a computer to read and understand text and abstract data, according to the vendor. For example, if a voice note or dictated medical transcription describes a gall bladder inflammation, it can be interpreted as the medical term "cholecystitis" so that the patient record accurately reflects the diagnosis.

The vendor's collaboration with UPMC will further its efforts to develop new and enhanced capabilities for clinical language understanding technology. In a separate alliance, Nuance in early 2011 entered an agreement with IBM Corp., to develop and commercialize the analytics capabilities of IBM's Watson supercomputer for the health care environment. Columbia University Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine also are part of the alliance.


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