Nuance and Uncle Sam Unleash the Dragon on U.S. Military Bases

The U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD) purchased 10,000 licenses of Nuance’s Dragon Medical for deployment in military installations the world over—from the theatre of command in the Middle East to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C.

This military deployment brings the total number of worldwide licenses of Dragon Medical to more than 90,000, a number the company expects to reach 100,000 by April. The military makes up about 20 percent of these licenses.

The AMEDD purchase is part of a military health services initiative that seeks to enhance clinician experience with the military’s electronic health record system.

To that end, AMEDD invested in infrastructural technologies like touch-screen laptops, wireless networks, and speech recognition software to provide quick universal access to critical information within the system. The system itself has been live for about a month.

Studies funded by Nuance show substantial benefits to productivity resulting from deployments of its technology. The company boasts that Dragon Medical increases efficiency among clinicians by 25 percent. The software enables physicians to create medical documents and emails, search the Web, and control computers and electronic health records entirely by voice. And this, Nuance claims, will save time and boost productivity.

In order to launch the new licenses of Dragon Medical, the military trained a special team to implement the software overseas. The deal will take Nuance Medical to several countries where the software has not yet seen widespread adoption.

“The military is really the only market that’s extending us internationally,” says Keith Belton, senior director of product marketing for Nuance Health Care.

However, the deployment—for now—is strictly for military eyes only. Belton is quick to point out that the software won’t be used outside U.S. bases. 

Only the medical records of military personnel and families receiving treatment from AMEDD will be transcribed by Dragon Medical. As such, the software will have limited interactions with foreign markets. One has to imagine, however, that Nuance is hoping the military bases will prove useful inroads in the future.

Belton points out, “We do have vocabularies of Spanish and French, but the initial focus for Dragon over the next year to 18 months is going to be in the United States outside of the medical field.”

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