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Nuance Acquires J.A. Thomas In Strategy To Revolutionize Clinical Documentation For Transition To ICD-10

AHIMA CONFERENCENuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) announced that it has acquired J.A. Thomas and Associates (JATA), the nation’s premier provider of physician-oriented, clinical documentation improvement (CDI) programs for the healthcare industry.

JATA helped establish the CDI industry and for more than two decades has provided technology and professional services that improve clinical documentation for healthcare providers. Its managed, end-to-end CDI solution has helped more than 500 hospitals improve patient care documentation by starting the CDI process with the physician at the point of care, resulting in more accurate and complete clinical documentation.

With JATA integrated into a single platform for end-to-end clinical documentation, the combined Nuance Healthcare solution is creating a revolutionary process for hospitals to efficiently transition to ICD-10 through the creation of more clinically accurate documentation. Nuance will deliver this capability by integrating the CDI strategies from JATA into Nuance’s Clinical Language Understanding (CLU) technology. Nuance CLU, enhanced with JATA CDI strategies, will power both Dragon Medical 360 physician solutions and Quantim HIM computer-assisted coding (CAC) and CDI solutions, creating a bridge between the clinically accurate patient record and the ICD-10 coded information.

“By integrating the clinical documentation improvement process into the physician workflow and leveraging CLU enhanced with JATA strategies, physicians can create the most accurate clinical documentation at the point of care,” said Janet Dillione, executive vice president and general manager, Nuance Healthcare. “Together, we will help organizations improve efficiency, achieve the highest levels of clinical accuracy and appropriate reimbursement for the care provided so caregivers can focus on what’s most important, taking care of patients.”

Highlights of the transaction include:
  • Complexity of ICD-10 Creating Need – The impending transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is forcing hospitals to re-evaluate their process and systems related to clinical documentation, quality reporting and coding as they shift from the current standard with 17,000 procedure codes to more than 155,000 codes in ICD-10. This transition places significant burdens on all aspects of the documentation process, most notably physician workflow, documentation accuracy and coder productivity.
  • Demand for Integrated Solutions – Nuance will deliver the industry’s only end-to-end clinically oriented documentation, CDI and coding solution with Nuance CLU and enhanced with JATA CDI strategies to bridge clinical documentation and ICD-10 coding.
  • Nuance Differentiated Offerings – The combination of JATA with Nuance’s Dragon Medical 360 solutions provides a more accurate and complete clinical document at the point-of-care. The integration of Nuance’s CLU with the Quantim HIM platform will improve coder productivity and ensure that the clinical information is accurately expressed in ICD-10 codes for reimbursement and quality reporting.
  • Customer Benefits from Nuance Solution – This integrated, single system approach will assist hospitals in achieving ICD-10 compliance while creating more clinically accurate documentation that better reflects the true severity of illness and risk of mortality of their patient populations. Further, by applying resources and procedures already familiar to physicians and the support team, this new documentation process can be implemented without forcing physicians to adjust their documentation practices while transitioning to the new ICD-10 coding standards.
  • Significant Market Opportunities – With more than 450,000 clinicians using a Dragon Medical 360 solution for clinical documentation, Nuance is already a trusted partner for thousands of hospitals and its integrated clinical documentation solution from the combination of Nuance, JATA and Quantim are a natural path for these hospitals as they transition to ICD-10. Today, only 600 hospitals use a comprehensive CDI and coding solution, with this number expected to grow to 2,400 hospitals by 2015.

“The J.A. Thomas and Quantim transactions build upon the strength of our fourth quarter and fiscal year 2012 performance and will be accretive in our fiscal year 2013,” said Paul Ricci, chairman and CEO of Nuance. “In combination, these acquisitions leverage our natural language understanding technology investment in a new growth market.”

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