Nuance Communications, part of Microsoft, announced the general availability of Nuance Dragon Ambient eXperience Copilot for documentation assistance in Epic electronic health records.

WHY IT MATTERS

Generative artificial intelligence has the potential to free clinicians from administrative tasks and increase clinical efficiencies. After months of collaboration, Nuance’s DAX Copilot is available for full Epic EHR integration, the company said Thursday.

According to the announcement, Azure OpenAI Service, Nuance and Epic partnered to accelerate the innovation of conversational and ambient technologies to enhance provider and patient experiences, expand access to care and improve healthcare outcomes.

Delivering a genAI EHR-integrated tool in less than six months signals a new era in accelerated innovation, Peter Durlach, corporate vice president and chief strategy officer of Microsoft Health and Life Sciences, said in the statement.

DAX Copilot securely drafts clinical notes and can record in-office and telehealth patient visits – with patient consent – directly in Epic’s Haiku mobile application. With the integration the EHR mobile app produces a draft note for immediate physician review and completion, Nuance said.

The goal – to help physicians focus more on patient care and less on documentation and typing – has been realized, according to 2023 survey data from thousands of clinicians using DAX, Nuance said.

“Our clinicians say that DAX Copilot enhances the already vital role of the Epic EHR by making clinical documentation an intuitive and straightforward part of providing high-quality patient care,” Brent Lamm, chief information officer of UNC Health, added.

Clinicians surveyed who use DAX reported a significant reduction in administrative burden, with 70% saying the AI tool embedded in the EHR reduced feelings of burnout and that it cut time spent on clinical documentation by 50%, Nuance said.

They also reported an increase in the number of patients they are able to see per day, with some indicating they were able to manage five additional appointments on average per clinic day.

Nuance noted patients surveyed were positive about the use of genAI during appointments. 

“Patients also say how much they value the conversational interactions they have with their providers and how they truly feel seen and heard during visits while DAX Copilot unobtrusively takes care of the clinical documentation,” Lamm said.

THE LARGER TREND

Nuance Communications and Epic announced wider availability of DAX to Epic customers in June.

Recently, Vanderbilt University Medical Center said physicians from the Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery will pilot DAX Copilot and may also evaluate usage by other departments.

“Generative AI shows promise in improving both the quality and efficiency of health care documentation,” Dr. Dara Mize, chief medical information officer at VUMC, said in a statement released by the health system earlier this month.

“The upcoming pilot marks a significant step in VUMC’s exploration of AI’s potential in streamlining clinician workflows and enhancing medical record-keeping while reducing time spent on documentation.”

ON THE RECORD

“Our core goal is to improve the care of every patient,” said Seth Hain, senior vice president of research and development at Epic. “This happens best when there is time and space for conversations between patients and clinicians because the system does the heavy lifting of creating the note.”

“Even by the high standards and strong results established over our years-long collaboration,” Durlach added, “our pioneering partnership to integrate DAX Copilot with the Epic ecosystem stands out.”

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.

Email: afox@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.