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TheStreet Open House

80 Percent Of US Physicians Believe Virtual Assistants Will Drastically Change Healthcare By 2018, Nuance Survey Finds

Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN), the first to bring the power of the virtual assistant directly to consumers through mobile phones and customer service attendants, recently surveyed US doctors about the effect virtual assistants will have on healthcare. Overwhelmingly, 80 percent believe that within five years, virtual assistants will drastically change how they interact and use electronic health records (EHRs) and other healthcare apps, making them more efficient and freeing up time to spend on patients.

Doctors stated that mobile virtual assistants could impact healthcare most by helping them access information in EHRs, and navigate through the process using conversational commands. One out of three doctors spends 30 percent or more of their day on administrative duties — activities that could be redirected or removed using voice-enabled virtual assistants.

How will virtual assistants put the care back in healthcare?

  • 65 percent say the top role for a virtual assistant: more accurate, timely information to support care or alert them to missing information in records.
  • 73 percent expect virtual assistants could improve healthcare and patient engagement by helping to coordinate care between multiple caregivers.
  • 80 percent believe virtual assistants will benefit patients most by engaging them in the process, prompting them to adhere to health advice and modifying behaviors.

“Mobile virtual assistants have the potential to reinvent the way we deliver patient care,” says Dr. Alireza Shafaie, Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “As a consumer, I already experience the value of mobile assistants, and would love to bring that natural, intelligence-based dialogue to my work as a primary care physician. For every one patient I see I have to communicate my recommendations in three different places. A mobile advisor that could do that on my behalf in one shot would give me back more time in what truly matters – time with my patients.”

One area of interest with physicians is intelligent, voice-driven, computerized physician order entry (CPOE) that uses more sophisticated reasoning for ordering medications, labs and radiology exams beyond mere speech. Healthcare developers can embed virtual assistants — ones that conduct meaningful conversations, interpret physician requests, ask for clarification and seamlessly manage changes in course of action much like their human equivalents — directly into any clinical app to enhance a variety of new and existing workflows, including CPOE.

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