HIMSS: Nuance rolls out mobile apps, NLP

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Nuance Communications unveiled its advancements in natural language processing (NLP) and its medical mobile apps for smartphones at HIMSS10 last week in Atlanta.

Nuance will deliver NLP-powered clinical documentation to help analyze, structure and utilize more than 80 percent of unstructured clinical documentation that exists in the healthcare industry, the Burlington, Mass.-based speech and dictation company said.

By allowing healthcare organizations to “unlock” unstructured clinical documentation, Nuance said its NLP will enable the extraction of clinically relevant data that otherwise would be impossible to access, unless done manually, the company stated.

“NLP allows you to take structured clinical data from free-form narrative that’s usually dictated. It has a lot of use cases but the primary ones we are focusing on are meaningful use requirements,” said Peter Durlach, senior vice president of marketing and product strategy at Nuance.

“The question is how do you balance physician workflow and productivity and the quality of the note while getting the structured data,” said Durlach at the conference. “That’s always been the challenge, but now it’s vocalized because of the meaningful use requirements and there’s a pressure point that this really matters versus it’s something ‘nice to have.’”

Nuance also announced the acquisition of NLP pioneer Language and Computing and a strategic partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital, which will enable Nuance to incorporate MGH’s software, Smart Dictation, into its own portfolio for the healthcare market.

Manhattan Research, a New York-based market-researcher, predicts that by 2011, 81 percent of U.S. physicians will be using smartphones, according to Nuance. Building on its Dragon Dictation and Dragon Search consumer applications for the iPhone, Nuance revealed that it will extend its mobile speech technologies to the healthcare industry.

At HIMSS, Nuance showcased four voice-enabled mobile applications for smartphones:

Dragon Medical Mobile Dictation – Allows clinicians to dictate patient notes, email and text messages instead of typing them on a mobile device with speech recognition performed in the cloud using streaming capabilities.

Dragon Medical Mobile Search – Enables clinicians to conduct fast and easy searches on various medical web sites. According to the company, a display carousel will show search results simultaneously from a variety of web sites, including MedScape, MedLine, Epocrates and Google. Dragon Medical Mobile Search is slated to be available by April 30, and will be the first Dragon Medical Mobile App released, the company added.

Dragon Medical Mobile Recorder – Allows clinicians to conduct on-the-go dictation on a smartphone. Once recorded, the clinicians’ voice file is forwarded through Nuance’s background speech recognition technology and into transcription where a draft document is created and then sent back to the clinician for review and sign-off.

Dragon Medical Mobile Software Developer Kit (SDK) – Will allow developers, including EMR vendors, to build systems that can incorporate Nuance’s Dragon Medical Mobile capabilities. Eclipsys is the first healthcare IT company to embed Dragon Medical Mobile SDK within its mobile application suite to enable speech-driven navigation and clinical documentation.