Nuance speech tech goes mobile with Epic

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BURLINGTON, MA – Clinicians who use an Epic electronic health record system can now also use speech recognition technology on the go – on their iPhones or iPads, with the newest offering from Burlington, Mass.-based Nuance Communications.

Customers will be able to capture clinical information through Epic Haiku for the iPhone and Epic Canto for the iPad because of the recent integration of Nuance’s cloud-based voice recognition with the Haiku and Canto applications.

Jeffrey Westcott, MD, medical director of the Cardiac Catherization Lab at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle – whose day is filled with angioplasty, cardiac catheterization, cardiac testing, cardiac ultrasound and echocardiography – says being able to document on the go will be a boon.

[See also: UPMC, Nuance aim to take speech recognition to new level]

“I’m out and about and you call me with chest pain, and we talk, then I can document what we said, what we did, what the problem was, what the plan is, by dictating into my phone. It’s more instant. It’s a better quality note,” he says. “It captures what my thought process is.”

“Clinicians’ work lives are not conducive to a desk and chair; they need the flexibility of a mobile environment to support their workflow – between exam rooms, clinics and hospitals – and all at a moment’s notice,” says Janet Dillione, executive vice president and general manager, Nuance Healthcare.  “Still, issues surrounding the adoption of mobile technologies remain, including limitations surrounding laborious touchscreen keyboards.  With voice-enabled mobile EHR applications, clinicians can enjoy the benefits of the Nuance-powered functionality anytime, anywhere.”

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Until now, if Westcott was not as this desk, he might not document the on-the-go encounter.

“Either I didn’t document it,” he says, “or I was lucky. I was at home when I got it. So I could start a note on my regular computer, or I did a little note to self, and when I got to an environment where I could link to the electronic medical record, I would go ahead and document what I did.”

[See also: Nuance to acquire QuadraMed’s HIM business, Quantim]

Then there’s the thumb issue.

“If I can do it verbally then the quality of the documentation goes up because then I can put more in there than I would if I was just using my thumbs,” says Westcott.

Nuance also recently announced that Cerner would embed Nuance’s cloud-based medical voice recognition into its full portfolio of mobile EHR solutions.

Jonathon Dreyer, Nuance’s director of mobile solutions marketing, sees a clear trend toward mobility in patient care. 

“In order to make the healthcare workforce mobile – particularly when it comes to patient data input – hurdles surrounding touchscreens have to be addressed and voice recognition can act as a problem solver,” Dreyer says. “One of our customers put it best recently: ‘Why poke buttons when you can use your voice?’”

“Most people now if you cant do something on a mobile device they don’t really want to do it,” agrees Westcott. “In healthcare, we’ve been so far behind other industries. These things will be very transformational. If you’re not limited by how you can access the electronic health record, then all of a sudden it starts to change how you do things.”

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