Enabling virtual healthcare with artificial intelligence

Enabling virtual healthcare with artificial intelligence

The technology is improving telehealth and virtual consults for both the doctor and the patient

Elly Yates-Roberts |

The telehealth and healthcare IT market has been growing in recent years, and it is expected to hit $390 billion by 2024. The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has driven the need for remote healthcare services even further, with most countries implementing restrictions that encourage the public to stay at home. In May 2020, McKinsey & Company reported that healthcare providers are seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients via virtual consultations than they did before the pandemic took effect. 

But telehealth is not just a symptom of necessity. Aside from patient and doctor safety, telehealth can also have long-term positive effects on patient well-being. By avoiding the logistical challenges and inconvenience associated with in-person visits, patients can better manage chronic conditions, medications, and lifestyle. 

However, the inherent complexity of healthcare regulations and administrative tasks have given telehealth a bad reputation. The traditional one-to-one conversation between patient and doctor has been tarnished through the computer screen with the constant background noise of keyboard clicks as medical personnel try to navigate their many digital systems and regulatory mandates, all while trying to listen to their patients and offer expertise. The result is a de-personalised patient experience and physician burnout. 

At Nuance, we are using innovative artificial intelligence-powered solutions to remove these administrative burdens from clinicians, provide better patient experiences, and strengthen the doctor-patient relationship. 

For example, earlier this year, we announced the integration of our ambient clinical intelligence (ACI) solution, the Nuance Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX), with Microsoft Teams. Hosted on Microsoft Azure, the Nuance DAX and Teams integration can improve virtual telehealth consultations by enabling physicians to use Nuance DAX within their familiar Teams workflows. As a result, they can focus on the patient while the AI captures the details of the virtual visit, creating clinical documentation that writes itself. The solution incorporates patient data securely with contextual information from electronic health records to automatically populate a complete clinical note within the patient’s medical record. 

We are already hearing how AI helps doctors spend more time with their patients, listening to their concerns and questions. At Cooper University Health Care in New Jersey, USA, doctors are using Nuance DAX to focus on caring for patients. Medical director Snehal Gandhi said, “By capturing every word of the physician-patient encounter and automatically generating the clinical note, Nuance DAX frees physicians to focus more on interacting with their patient rather than documentation, which improves the overall experience for both patient and physician.” 

The world is evolving, and with it is the nature of healthcare and patient expectations. Digital technologies such as AI will continue to play an integral role in how healthcare providers deliver care to their patients. 

Diana Nole is the executive vice president and general manager of healthcare at Nuance Communications

This article was originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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