Nuance Expands Service for Medical Dictation

Nuance Communications today released an advanced suite of Dragon Medical Mobile technologies and solutions.

Building on the recent success of its Dragon Dictation and Dragon Search consumer apps for the iPhone, which are powered by Dragon NaturallySpeaking software, Nuance will extend its mobile speech technologies to the healthcare industry. By applying its speech recognition and capture capabilities to smartphones, Nuance can help physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers efficiently access clinical information and document patient encounters using their mobile devices.

According to market-research firm Manhattan Research of New York, 81 percent of U.S. physicians will be using smartphones by 2011. The urgency for such solutions is further heightened by industry and federal government mandates to expediently migrate medical information into electronic health records (EHRs). To help clinicians take full advantage of advances in mobile computing, Nuance has developed a variety of mobile technologies that are designed specifically for clinicians to improve productivity and satisfaction with documentation workflow, information access and communication via the smartphone.

• Dragon Medical Mobile Dictation, which allows clinicians to dictate patient notes, email, and text messages instead of typing them on a mobile device. All of the speech recognition is performed in the cloud using advanced real-time streaming capabilities.

• Dragon Medical Mobile Search, providing a voice-powered solution that gives clinicians a smarter way to search for medical information. Using the same server-based speech recognition technology as the Dragon Medical Mobile Dictation app, the Search app will allow clinicians to speak a request to conduct fast and easy searches on various medical Web sites.

• Dragon Medical Mobile Recorder, a voice-capture app that will allow clinicians to conduct on-the-go dictation on a smartphone. Once recorded, the clinicians’ voice file is forwarded through Nuance’s background speech recognition technology and onto transcription where a high-quality draft document is created and then sent back to the clinician for review and sign-off.

• Dragon Medical Mobile SDK, a software developer kit that will be offered to third-party healthcare information technology companies and partners. This SDK will allow developers, including EHR vendors, to build solutions that can incorporate Nuance’s Dragon Medical Mobile capabilities.

 “Nuance has helped revolutionize the mobile experience by providing people with simple, intuitive and easy-to-use voice-powered capabilities on their smartphones and other devices. With the innovative solutions we’re showcasing this week, Nuance is helping bring the power of mobile speech to the healthcare community, and make clinical documentation and information access more efficient for the clinician,” said Peter Durlach, senior vice president, marketing and product strategy, Nuance Healthcare. “Whether quickly documenting a patient encounter while rounding, searching the Internet for medical information, or sending a quick spoken text message about a patient’s condition to a colleague, Nuance’s Dragon Medical Mobile solutions will speed up and simplify the process.”

 In addition to significant internal NLP research and development investments, Nuance has acquired key technologies and researchers from Language and Computing (L&C), a developer of clinical narrative processing technology. Nuance has also formed a strategic partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), which will enable Nuance to incorporate MGH’s proven NLP solution, Smart Dictation, into its own solution portfolio for the healthcare market.

“Natural language processing adds meaning to the clinical narrative, so that clinicians’ spoken words are not simply transformed into text, but can be used to create meaningful clinical data that can be inserted into an EHR or other data repositories without forcing doctors to document via time consuming and restrictive point-and-click templates,” said John Shagoury, Nuance’s executive vice president for healthcare. “By adding these new natural language processing technologies and capabilities, Nuance has advanced its commitment to improve the clinical documentation process for healthcare organizations by extending the power of our speech-driven solutions that cater to both to clinicians’ documentation preferences and provider organizations’ need to create structured data within their EHRs.”

By integrating L&C’s NLP technologies into its healthcare portfolio, Nuance will enhance its ability to address the structured data management challenges in healthcare with its clinical documentation solutions, including Dragon Medical, eScription, and Dictaphone Enterprise Speech System. With these integrated technologies, Nuance will provide solutions to the healthcare market that enable advanced clinical data warehousing, clinical decision support, data mining, coding for billing and disease management. L&C’s powerful technologies include a comprehensive medical knowledge base that is specifically designed to extract clinically relevant and discrete data from unstructured medical documentation. L&C technology is currently deployed at major healthcare institutions, including Kaiser Permanente and Ochsner.

As part of Nuance’s broad partnership with MGH, Nuance will exclusively license Smart Dictation NLP, a system that was developed by the MGH Lab of Computer Science, which is currently being used by MGH physicians to automatically extract key data elements from narrative dictations and populate the EHR. Nuance will leverage key capabilities of this technology alongside its full portfolio of NLP and speech-driven clinical documentation solutions to help healthcare organizations convert unstructured text into a structured, digital and interoperable format that contains extracted data elements for a variety of applications.

To further support its mission associated with NLP development and its goal of maintaining the important clinician narrative in EHRs, Nuance has joined the Health Story Project, a collaboration of healthcare vendors, providers and associations. The Health Story Project believes clinical documentation that includes the physician narrative is crucial to facilitate the electronic exchange of comprehensive health information and should be defined as part of Meaningful Use criteria. Additionally, with this group, which holds an Associate Charter Agreement with Health Level Seven (HL7), Nuance will contribute to the development and support of the HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) standards to enhance the flow of clinical information between narrative dictations and the EHR.

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