Speech Readies Healthcare for ACA Requirements
event that a mobile device containing sensitive information is lost or stolen, patient data cannot be accessed without the user's voiceprint.
VoiceVault also has a significant presence in the health insurance space. Using the company's voice biometrics solutions, the voiceprints of millions of consumers insured by WellPoint, Anthem, and Blue Cross Blue Shield have been enrolled. More recently, VoiceVault has increased its focus on preventing fraud committed by remote healthcare workers. Using voice biometrics, healthcare companies are able to verify if reported home visits actually took place.
One client, clinical documentation provider Dial-N-Document, has integrated VoiceVault's technology into its phone system to authenticate that home healthcare workers were physically where they said they were. "Budgets are tight, and Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers can't afford to be paying for services that weren't done or weren't done appropriately," said Dial-N-Document president Donald O'Rourke, in a statement.
Speech, Coding, and the EHR Experience
Medical coding requirements have long been drivers for speech innovation, and have been increasingly so lately, due to updated standards for EMRs and EHRs. Patient information contained in medical records includes statistical codes from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) that classify medical diagnoses, diseases, and causes of death. ICD codes are continually upgraded, and the latest version, ICD-10, was scheduled to be implemented by healthcare providers by October 2014. The deadline was pushed back to 2015, providing more breathing room for those providers that had not implemented the new system and giving speech vendors more opportunities to sell solutions.
According to a January 2014 survey from the Healthcare Financial Association sponsored by Nuance, one of the top priorities among healthcare leaders was the transition to ICD-10, which would provide compliance adherence and also speed reimbursements. But the question is, how can physicians get patient information—including codes—into EMRs? Nuance's Cassidy says that healthcare providers are still figuring out the best way for inputting information, and now "vendors have to be ready in all of their systems, whether it's speech or coding.
"It's about getting that [medical] information into records, so vendors have to be ready on many fronts from the EHR perspective, from clinical documentation, from speech input," Cassidy says. "All of the other systems tie in to the value chain of clinical documentation. Everything has to do with continuum of care—coding, reimbursement, and streaming of the data. There is a huge leap from ICD-9 to ICD-10."
Cassidy says that Nuance has been updating its solutions for ICD-10. "We have been beta testing, pilot testing, working with many of the EHR vendors on the type of data that they can accept, using speech interface upgrades and uplifts that can get that medical information into the medical records."
In a traditional healthcare provider setting, a physician would dictate patient information, which would then be sent to a transcriptionist, who would send it back to the physician either electronically or through print. The doctor would have to review the transcription again and add edits, Cassidy explains. The cycle might be repeated for several months until it passes muster and can be added to the medical record. Nuance's voice-enabled Clinical Language Understanding engine can eliminate the tedious back-and-forth process.
"We also have several tools that add value to the clinical documentation improvement process that is unique in our space. No one else has the speech recognition technology, the natural language processing technology, and the knowledge base that essentially allows the technology to provide real-time feedback to the clinician on their documentation at the time that they're creating the document, which is typically [when they're] with the patient," Nuance's van Terheyden says.
As a final layer, Nuance adds analytics that supports quality of care and other healthcare measures. "We know we can knock down the silos that exist between physicians and clinical docs [and] help reimbursement as well as quality of care," van Terheyden says. "We can essentially smooth out that process."
Employing these different types of solutions from speech technology vendors can differentiate healthcare and insurance providers from the crowd. Providers shouldn't become complacent or count on more delays from the government.
"Healthcare systems are facing a moment of truth, where they need to fundamentally change the way they do business," Aspect's Dobrozdravic says. "In growing numbers, patients expect a satisfying experience. Unless health systems are able to capture the holistic patient interaction data and create better experiences, patients and their subsequent revenue will go elsewhere."
Senior Editor Michele Masterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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