Nuance and athenahealth set out to reduce administrative burden for clinicians

Healthcare voice tech developer Nuance and electronic health record (EHR) vendor athenahealth expanded their collaboration by integrating Nuance’s Dragon Medical AI voice-assistant tech with the athenaOne mobile app. Nuance’s AI-driven voice recognition tech offers a hands-free tool that lets providers seamlessly navigate EHRs, streamlines clinical workflows, and simplifies their daily workload.

Nuance has established itself as a leader in EHR-compatible AI voice tech:

  • The global conversational AI market is projected to almost quadruple from less than $5 billion in 2020 to $18 billion by 2027—and Nuance already has a head start carving out its place in healthcare, commanding more than 60% of the healthcare voice tech market.
  • EHR vendors and health systems alike have tapped Nuance’s voice tech: Its long list of EHR vendor clients includes Cerner, Epic, Allscripts, eClinicalWorks, and Meditech. Nuance has also forged partnerships with 90% of hospitals and health systems globally, and it’s been in the industry long enough to prove ROI: Its AI solutions have helped its healthcare clients reduce duplicate imaging by 40% and capture $1 billion of appropriate reimbursement annually.
  • Nuance’s AI voice tech addresses the physician burnout crisis—which costs the US healthcare industry more than $4.6 billion annually. For every 10% decrease in administrative workload, the likelihood of physician burnout drops by 33%, according to the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. AI admin tools like Nuance’s can streamline medical care in a way that both alleviates physicians’ burdens and enhances care quality—and clinicians are on board: 94% of clinicians believe AI voice-assistant tech will improve clinical documentation, and 70% think ambient voice tech will help them focus more on patient care, per Nuance’s recent survey.

Although voice tech can be useful for clinical documentation, that alone won’t solve clinicians’ administrative woes—comprehensive solutions that also address chart review and data visualization are needed.

  • When interacting with EHRs, physicians spend more time on chart review than clinical documentation, according to a 2020 study on EHR utilization by 155,000 physicians across 417 health systems. Integrating AI-enabled clinical documentation tech with chart visualization and predictive workflow software could create a comprehensive, effective solution.
  • Microsoft’s recent $20 billion acquisition of Nuance could help it penetrate deeper into the EHR space. A deep-pocketed tech giant like Microsoft can provide Nuance with the necessary cloud computing power and AI iterations to enhance its products to meet the needs of clinicians. For example, its Cloud for Healthcare solution and top-rated healthcare AI offerings could enhance and complement Nuance’s voice assistant products. As Microsoft races to tighten its grip in the healthcare industry, it will likely use Nuance to boost its products’ appeal in the eyes of hospitals and health systems.