Medical Generative AI: Revolutionizing Healthcare Documentation and Boosting Physician Productivity

Face-to-face communication with patients is the most popular new healthcare practice.

This week in Orlando, Florida, more than 30,000 professionals from the healthcare and technology industries gathered under the palms to attend the HIMSS Conference. The ambient clinical documentation displayed on the exhibit floor was a hot topic.

The AI technology allows physicians to record patient visits consensually. Medical Generative AI converts the conversations into notes and summaries automatically. Companies like Microsoft Nuance Communications and Abridge develop these solutions, which they claim will reduce doctors’ administrative burden and help them prioritize meaningful patient interactions.

CNBC interviewed Dr. Shiv Raho, the founder and CEO at Abridge. He said, “I have to take notes after seeing patients, place orders, and think about what I want to say to them.” Our technology allows me to concentrate on the patient in front of my face. I can swivel the chair, and the note is there within seconds.

Clinicians need help with administrative workloads across the U.S. healthcare system. In a survey conducted by Athena Health and published in February of this year, more than 90% reported feeling burnt out “regularly” because of all the paperwork they must do.

The survey found that more than 60% of physicians felt overwhelmed by the clerical demands and worked an average of 15 hours per work week beyond their usual hours to stay on top. Many in the industry often call this at-home work “pajama work.

Administrative work, which is mainly bureaucratic and does not directly impact doctors’ diagnoses or patient care, was one of the areas that health systems began to explore when it came to seriously applying Medical Generative AI Ambient clinical documentation is enjoying a moment of glory.

In an interview with CNBC, Kenneth Harper said there is no better place than Microsoft’s DAX Copilot.

Microsoft Nuance released its ambient clinical documenting tool Dragon Ambient Experience Express (DAX) in beta last March. The solution was made available to the general public in September and is now known as DAX Copilot. Harper stated that more than 200 companies are using this technology.

Microsoft purchased Nuance in 2021 for approximately $16 billion. It had a large two-story booth that attracted many attendees.

Harper says the technology can save doctors several minutes in each encounter. However, the precise number varies depending on their specialty. His team receives daily feedback from doctors who say the service has enabled them to take better care of themselves and saved their marriages.

Harper recalled a conversation with a physician considering retiring after having worked for over thirty years. The doctor, he said, was worn out by years of stress but was motivated to continue working when he learned about DAX Copilot.

Harper stated, “He said, I think I will practice for 10 more years because I enjoy what I am doing.” Harper said, “That is just an example of how this has affected our teams.”

Stanford Health Care, at HIMSS, announced that it will implement DAX Copilot throughout its enterprise.

Gary Fritz, the chief of applications for Stanford Health Care, said that the company initially tested the tool in its examination rooms. Stanford Health Care recently surveyed doctors about the use of Medical Generative AI DAX Copilot. 96% said it was easy to use.

In an interview with CNBC, Fritz said: “I’m not sure that I’ve seen such a large number before.” It is a huge deal.

The use of DAX Copilot was described as “remarkably seamless” by Dr. Christopher Sharp. He is the chief medical officer and physician at Stanford Health Care, who also tested it. The tool is accurate but could be improved in capturing the tone.

Sharp believes that the software has saved him time documenting and altered how he uses his time. He often reads and edits notes instead of writing them, so it’s like the work is still there.

Sharp stated that he would like more personalization capabilities within DAX Copilot in the short term. This includes both individual and specialization levels. Sharp said that he could see its value right away.

During his interview with CNBC, Sharp declared that “the moment you receive that document and see your own words, along with the patient’s, reflected in a clear and useful way – that’s the tipping point. You’ll be hooked.

Fritz explained that Stanford Health Care has yet to decide how to deploy the product. He announced the likelihood of releasing DAX Copilot in specialty-specific batches.

Nuance made DAX Copilot available to all Epic Systems users in January. According to KLAS Research, most doctors use EHRs to create and maintain patient medical records. Epic Systems is the leading vendor in terms of hospital market share.

Harper explained that by integrating DAX Copilot into doctors’ EHR workflows, they would not need to change apps to use it. This will save time and further reduce their clerical workload.

Seth Hain is the senior vice president of R&D for Epic. He told CNBC that ambient technologies have drafted over 150,000 notes into Epic’s software since last year’s HIMSS Conference. The technology scales quickly. Hain stated that more notes were already drafted for 2024 than 2023.

He said, “You’re now seeing health systems begin to quickly roll out this technology after they have gone through a deliberate process to acclimate their users to it.”

Abridge, a U.K. company, has also integrated its ambient clinical documenting technology into Epic. Abridge refused to reveal the number of organizations that use its technology. The company announced that California’s UCI Health will roll out its solution across the entire system.

Rao, CEO of Abridge, said that the pace at which healthcare has adopted ambient clinical documents feels “historic.”

Abridge, led by Spark Capital in October, announced a $30m Series B round of funding and completed a $150m Series C round four months later. Rao stated that a tornado of physician burnout has hit the company. We will use the funds to explore the next steps and further invest in Abridge’s technology.

Rao stated that the company saves some doctors up to three hours per day and automates more than 92% of the work they focus on. Abridge has implemented its technology in 55 specialties and has made it available in 14 languages.

Abridge’s team created a Slack channel called “Love Stories,” which CNBC viewed. The channel will utilize sharing positive feedback about the Medical Generative AI technology. Abridge saves a doctor an hour and a half each day and removes their least favorite part of the job.

Rao stated, “That is the kind of feedback that inspires everyone in the organization.”

Punit Soni, CEO of Suki, said that the ambient clinical document market was “sizzling.” However, as with all hype cycles, the dust should settle.

Soni created Suki in 2006 after she hypothesized that doctors would need a digital assistant to manage clinical documentation. Soni has announced that Suki, a software application for managing data and documents in more than 30 specialties is used by over 250 organizations nationwide. He added that six “large health organizations” had implemented Suki within the last two weeks.

I have waited in the store for four or five years, hoping someone would show up. Soni told CNBC that the mall was now here, and a long line of people was waiting outside. It’s “very, very exciting” to be at HIMSS.

According to Suki’s website, its technology reduces the time physicians spend on paperwork by 72%. March Capital led a $55 million funding round for the company. Soni stated that the company will probably raise another funding round during the second half of this year.

Soni stated that Suki’s focus is on the deployment of its technology and the exploration of additional applications. For example, how nurses can use ambient documentation. Soni said that Suki will soon be able to offer Spanish and the rest of the major languages.

He said, “There’s so much to be done.” In the next decade, all healthcare techs will look different.

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