Microsoft, Nuance Partner for Telehealth Integration

Nuance's AI aims to help alleviate physician fatigue by letting them focus solely on patients instead of taking notes.

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Need to Know

  • Microsoft will integrate the Nuance Dragon Ambient eXperience into its Microsoft Teams platform
  • The Nuance tool uses AI to securely capture virtual healthcare visits in context, allowing physicians to focus on meetings rather than taking notes
  • Nuance Dragon Medical is currently used by more than 550,000 physicians around the world

Analysis

Microsoft has announced a new partnership with virtual healthcare company Nuance, which will allow the two companies to provide telehealth solutions to both physicians and patients through the Microsoft Teams platform.

The key element of the partnership is Microsoft’s integration of the Nuance Dragon Ambient eXperience (Nuance DAX) into its current offerings within Teams. The Nuance DAX tool, which is built on Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure, is an ambient clinical intelligence (ACI) solution that uses artificial intelligence to capture virtual appointments between healthcare providers and patients in context: data collected by Nuance DAX will be combined with a patient’s electronic health record to create a complete picture for physicians to then review after the meeting. This enables physicians to be more present for telehealth consults—by eliminating the need for them to take notes, for instance—and thereby provide a better experience overall for the patient.

The Nuance-Microsoft partnership comes amid a dramatic increase in demand for telehealth, brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: according to a McKinsey & Company survey, cited in the Microsoft-Nuance partnership announcement, the demand for telehealth solutions has increased by 50 to 175 times since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The dramatic growth of telehealth represents a unique opportunity to use Nuance DAX ambient clinical intelligence technology to transform healthcare experiences and define what healthcare providers and consumers should expect from advanced digital health solutions,” Diana Nole, EVP and general manager of healthcare for Nuance, said in a statement announcing the partnership.

“Our strategic partnership with Microsoft, which led to this rapid integration of Nuance DAX with Microsoft Teams for telehealth, illustrates the ongoing importance of combining our technologies, domain expertise and market reach to develop advanced cloud-based conversational AI solutions that keep the health of clinicians and patients front and center in healthcare delivery.”

Nuance and Microsoft first partnered in 2019, to work together on the development of what is now the Nuance DAX tool.

“Through our strategic partnership with Nuance, we are combining the best in Nuance’s conversational AI technology with Microsoft Teams, Azure and Azure AI to accelerate and scale the development and adoption of innovative solutions that emphasize the essential and personal aspect of quality healthcare between a physician and patient,” Gregory Moore, M.D., Ph.D., corporate vice president of Microsoft Health, said in a statement.

During telehealth appointments that use Nuance DAX technology, physicians can call up medical records and patient data in real-time, while integrated machine vision detects non-verbal data—such as a patient pointing to an area of concern on their body—and communicates that information to the physician, while also saving the data. Physician burnout is a significant concern in the medical field, and Nuance DAX’s ability to recognize, process, and save information aims to help alleviate this, in turn increasing the physician’s ability to provide care.

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