Nuance and MModal – Natural Language Processing Expertise

Many of you might remember that one of the most interesting things I saw at HIMSS this year was the natural language processing that was being done by MModal. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this video interview of MModal that I did at HIMSS. I still think there really could be something to the idea of retaining the narrative that dictation provides while also pulling out the granular data elements in that narrative.

With that background, I found it really interesting when I was on LinkedIn the other day and saw Dr. Nick van Terheyden,the same guy I interviewed in the video linked above had switched companies. Nick’s profile on LinkedIn had him listed as working for Nuance instead of MModal. I guess this shouldn’t have been a surprise. Nuance has a lot of skin in the natural language processing game and it seemed to me that MModal had the technology that would make it a reality. So, now Dr. Nick van Terheyden is the Chief of Medical Information Officer for Nuance.

I’d say this is a really good move by Nuance and I’m sure Nick is being richly rewarded as well. Nick was one of the most interesting people that I met at HIMSS this year. I’ll be certain to search him out at next year’s event to hear the whole story. Luckily, I also found out that Nick is blogging about voice recognition in healthcare on his blog Voice of the Doctor. I always love it when smart people like Nick start blogging.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

1 Comment

  • John… to your comment:

    “… there really could be something to the idea of retaining the narrative that dictation provides while also pulling out the granular data elements in that narrative.”

    A piece in Nick’s blog really drives this point home … and defines the chasm between practitioners and why they find EHRs of limited value … and the concept of capturing the narrative as a component of the EHR proposed by Nick and the Nuance group.

    Quoted from the link above:

    “For the busy clinician who currently derives little from the capturing of structured codified data there is little benefit for the extra and often frustratingly challenge extra time required to capture data in this structured form. It’s very difficult to get clinicians to enter coded data as opposed to entering patient conditions.

    “There is a big push demanding structured data that is sweeping over clinicians who are increasingly highlighting the issue and pushing back refusing to become data entry clerks. While some may see this as simple resistance to change it is not just the physician who is loosing information. Patients will find their records relegated to a series of check boxes and lists and while this may provide information it does not cover the full story. The Clinical Narrative must be integrated into the EHR”.

    I’ll repeat his last line … but the entire post is good reading. Sanity.

    “The Clinical Narrative must be integrated into the EHR”.

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