Can artificial intelligence restore joy to the practice of medicine? The prognosis is good.
No one goes to medical school to become a scribe. Or to connect with patients by staring deeply into the pixels of an EHR interface. Or to stay up late after their kids go to bed, composing clinical notes from memory about interactions with patients that occurred hours earlier.
And yet, physicians of all specialties find themselves doing these things day in and day out, with increasing frequency. Instead of engaging with patients and their loved ones in face‑to‑face interactions, physicians are, by necessity, gazing at screens and banging on keys. Too much of their attention is devoted to satisfying the hunger for data and documentation mandates that were supposed to make their lives easier.
This is burning physicians out. And it’s impacting patients too. According to a 2020 survey conducted by Dynata, 71% of patients reported feeling “frustrated” with their healthcare experience. The depersonalization of healthcare interactions appears to be a contributing factor, with 61% of patients saying they would visit their healthcare provider more often if the experience felt more personalized.
Turns out, there’s a technological solution to this problem.
The Nuance Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX) is an AI‑powered, ambient clinical intelligence (ACI) solution that utilizes machine learning, automatic speech recognition (ASR), natural language processing (NLP), and other innovative technologies to enhance patient-provider interactions, decrease physician burnout, increase patient satisfaction, and improve financial outcomes.
Here’s how DAX works. Across care settings—physician offices, virtual telehealth consultations, ambulatory care, primary and urgent care—the voice‑enabled solution automatically captures (with a patient’s consent) what is said during patient‑physician interactions. From there, it creates fully compliant documentation of the clinical encounter. In doing so, DAX relieves physicians of the burden of documenting care and relieves patients of the stress associated with talking to a doctor who is barely able to look at them. Patients feel listened to and cared for. Physicians return to practicing medicine as physicians—not as stenographers.
The highly‑sophisticated DAX solution is equipped to deal with the real-world challenges in clinical environments by:
- Unobtrusively capturing multi‑party clinical conversations accurately
- Recognizing different speaking styles, accents, and dialects
- Distinguishing between non-essential conversation (such as “small talk”) and essential clinical discussions
- Understanding complicated medical terminology
- Placing content precisely where it belongs in the clinical note
DAX is a HITRUST CSF‑certified, cloud‑based solution that includes a mobile app. It can be used anywhere and is compatible with any telehealth platform.
The University of Michigan Health‑West is one of many US healthcare systems using the DAX solution. They are in the midst of rolling it out to all primary care practices within their community, including internal medicine, family practice, and pediatrics providers. Already, they have seen a positive impact on the physician experience with DAX.
“[Without DAX] The biggest burden is the cognitive burden of getting data into the system, and with DAX that is essentially eliminated,” said Lance Owens, DO, Chief Medical Information Officer and Family Practice Provider at University of Michigan Health‑West. “I tell people it’s the greatest thing, now that I can just sit back, relax, and have a meaningful conversation about what’s going on and not have to worry about inputting the data.”
Metrics on the performance of DAX at the University of Michigan Health‑West will not be available until they complete their rollout. But the results are in from other healthcare systems who utilize DAX:
- 50% reduction in documentation time
- 70% reduction in feelings of fatigue and burnout
- 79% of physicians said DAX improves the quality of documentation
- 83% of patients report their physician is more personable and conversational
Deploying DAX can help reduce physician burnout and enhance the physician‑patient experience. But Peter Hahn, MD, MBA, President and CEO of University of Michigan Health‑West sees even greater potential in the system. “I think this will be a game‑changer in many ways,” Dr. Hahn said, “really restoring the joy of medicine back to our providers and then restoring that intimacy of the encounter for the patient.”
Today’s methods of documenting care have robbed physicians of much of the joy of medicine. Wouldn’t it be great if more sophisticated technological solutions like DAX can bring it back?