Last week I started a project to create a list of all of the telehealth options out there. Mostly, I wanted to be able to provide my friends and readers answer to the question I’m certain to get over the next year, “Which telehealth solution is best?”
It may take me another week to finish gathering this list, but we’re making good progress. However, I’ve quickly realized that people are offering all flavors of telehealth. More to come on how we plan to categorize all the various telehealth options so that medical practices and health systems can sort through all the telehealth noise and know what options they should consider.
While we continue our work on the telehealth list, I realized an opportunity for telehealth vendors that combines a video telehealth visit with ambient clinical voice technology. In fact, I could see whoever figures out this combination of technology first is going to be a big winner in the market.
For those not familiar with ambient clinical voice technology, it’s basically a microphone (or multiple microphones) in your exam room that listens to you and your doctor, applies voice recognition and NLP (Natural Language Processing) to be able to create the clinical documentation for the visit.
There are a lot of vendors that are working on this technology, but the most prominent is Nuance. It’s not hard to see how this technology could be applied to a telehealth visit where the audio is already being captured electronically. Layer ambient clinical voice on top of the audio from the telehealth visit and you provide the clinical documentation to the doctor.
When I had this idea, I literally wrote this in a draft article:
If I’m doing video telehealth now, I’m beating down the doors of Nuance to do ambient clinical voice on my telehealth videos.
Is there a more compelling tagline than “Clinical documentation that writes itself”?
Needless to say this is exciting news for healthcare if the announcement can live up to its billing and at a price that works for organizations. Unfortunately, given the social distancing and the recency of the announcement I haven’t had a chance to evaluate it fully and to learn how they’re planning to price it. In fact, it was one of the things I was most looking forward to see a demo of at HIMSS which of course was cancelled.
Obviously, it’s still somewhat early in the implementation of ambient clinical voice technology to automate documentation for clinicians, but we are a few years in and so it feels like we’re getting close. I can’t wait to see if it’s finally ready for prime time, but it looks promising since it’s been seeing good results by early adopters at EmergeOrtho, Nebraska Medicine, Novant Health, and Rush University Medical Center.
Assuming the documentation technology is ready for primetime, combining it with telehealth is going to make it take off in ways they’d never have dreamed before. Dare I say that it will become a standard requirement for telehealth? It might even be part of the answer of “Which telehealth solution is best?”