Hospitals, Health IT, Artificial Intelligence

Providence, Nuance’s expanded AI partnership aims to reduce clinician burnout

The 51-hospital system and artificial intelligence company are building on their existing collaboration to deploy technology that will allow physicians to focus solely on their patients during visits.

Providence, a Renton, Washington-based health system, and artificial intelligence company Nuance Communications have entered into a collaboration with the aim of improving clinical documentation and reducing clinician burnout across Providence’s 51 hospitals.

Providence is one of the largest health systems in the country, with its facilities spanning seven states. The health system has an existing relationship with Nuance and already uses the company’s Dragon Medical One solution in its facilities. The solution is a cloud-based speech recognition platform that translates the clinician’s voice into clinical documentation that is entered into the EHR.

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Per the new collaboration, Providence will deploy Nuance’s Dragon Ambient eXperience. The Dragon Ambient eXperience combines conversational AI technology with Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing service, to capture and contextualize the entire patient visit. The clinician and patient can continue their conversation while the technology automatically documents the visit.

“Our partnership with Nuance is helping Providence make it easier for our doctors and nurses to do the hard work of documenting the cutting-edge care they provide day in and day out,” said Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, executive vice president and chief clinical officer at Providence, in a statement. “The tools we’re developing let our caregivers focus on their patients instead of their keyboards, and that will go a long way in bringing joy back to practicing medicine.”

Clinical documentation and EHR use have been significantly linked to clinician stress and burnout. A survey of 282 clinicians published last year showed 40% of physician burnout is attributable to EHR use, according to EHR Intelligence. It also showed that physicians spend two minutes at the computer for every one minute they spend with patients.

Research shows that reducing the number of tasks a physician is expected to perform has a tangible effect on reducing burnout. A study published earlier this month in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety found that for every 10% decrease in physician task load the odds of experiencing burnout dropped by 33%.

Providence and Nuance’s expanded collaboration will also include the deployment of CDE One, a cloud-based workflow management and documentation guidance solution, and Nuance’s surgical computer-assisted physician documentation solution.

Further, the two entities will develop integrated clinical intelligence and enhanced revenue cycle solutions.

Providence is not new to using machine learning and AI tools. The health system is already using them to anticipate COVID-19 resurgence and manage personal protective equipment and other finite resources, B.J. Moore, executive vice president and CIO at Providence, said via email.

“As healthcare embraces wearables, internet of things, big data, AI will be imperative to sift through and make sense of the trillions of signals we will be receiving from our communities and patients,” he said.

But the technology is still new, and in its infancy, he added.

“We need to take small incremental steps to prove the value and use of AI. In addition, change management and adoption will be critical as we begin to weave AI into caregiver workflows,” Moore said.

Photo credit: Dmitrii_Guzhanin, Getty Images