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● Speech Recognition

Humanizing healthcare with

By Jonathon Dreyer U

sing technology to humanize healthcare seems fairly counterintuitive. Ostensibly, adding a mobile device to the equation could drive a wedge between a phy- sician and the patient, making the encounter less

personal for both parties. However, recent accounts from both physicians and patients have shown that the presence of a mobile device such as an iPhone or iPad in an exam room, rather than a computer screen, has actually broken down barriers, allowing patients to take a more active role in the generation of their own electronic health record (EHR). As the healthcare industry looks for ways to improve the quality of patient care while also reduc- ing costs, today’s providers are looking to these types of mobile technologies to improve engagement and streamline processes and procedures for patients and physicians alike.

Physician hesitancy It’s no secret that many physicians are still hesitant to embrace

certain technologies at the point of care. According to a recent survey conducted by the American College of Physicians and American EHR Partners, overall physician satisfaction with EHRs has decreased 12 percent from 2010 to 2012. At the same time, our healthcare system is quickly becoming even more tech-centric, and it has become readily apparent that physicians have to get on board or get left behind. Particularly with government mandates such as ICD-10 and meaningful use, it has become imperative for clinicians to embrace technology in order to maintain regulatory compliance. T e inability to use and interact with technology not only places some physicians behind the curve, but sets them up for potential disaster down the road. So how can physicians learn to adopt these technologies to adjust to the ever-changing healthcare landscape? T e solution lies in virtual assistants. Similar to Siri on an iPhone, virtual as- sistants for healthcare are designed to act as an extra set of hands for today’s physicians through the use of speech and clinical language understanding (CLU). Just as a personal mobile assis- tant can pull up the weather, make dinner reservations and fi nd directions through the use of voice, virtual assistants for healthcare have the ability to dig for information within a patient’s medical

14 May 2013

record, navigate healthcare applications and facilitate end-to-end clinical documentation, all through conversational dialogue and commands. Designed to ease complications affi liated with standard healthcare technology, these intelligent systems provide human-like interaction that helps physicians do their jobs more effi ciently while also improving patient engagement.

The doctor will see you now Virtual assistants allow for physicians to navigate the EHR and clinical documentation process fl uidly using natural, interactive dialogue, enabling them to engage patients without distraction. Using CLU technology, virtual assistants capture patient data and analyze it, automatically populating the patient’s medical record and prompting the physician to provide further details when necessary. T is allows physicians to direct their attention to their patient’s individual needs, rather than a computer screen, which helps humanize the interaction and facilitates a more in-depth, natural dialogue. T is natural dialogue also provides patients with the opportunity to make additional comments or correct any inaccuracies in their own record. Dr. Robert Walker, chief of executive medicine for the United

States Army Europe in Heidelberg, Germany, has found this dialogue particularly instrumental in accurately capturing unique details for each of his patients. His patients are able to correct any inaccuracies as they are dictated into the EHR, giving them a sense of ownership of their individual medical record. In the past, seemingly small yet often signifi cant details may have been inadvertently overlooked; but with the ability to see and hear their own EHR data, patients can now validate the information. T e end result is more accurate, complete clinical documentation, which helps to ensure that the patient receives quality, appropriate treatment at the point of care. T ese intelligent systems help to preserve physicians’ existing

workfl ow by allowing them to engage with patients in a normal, natural fashion, while simultaneously decreasing the time spent on administrative, non-direct care duties – a critical concern for many physicians. A recent survey of physicians conducted by Nuance Healthcare found that one out of three physicians spends


technology Streamlining the clinical documentation process augments doctor/patient interaction.

Jonathon Dreyer is a mobile expert for Nuance. For more on Nuance: www.rsleads. com/305ht-205

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