|Major Natural Language Processing Advancements from Nuance Empower Healthcare Industry to Transform Unstructured Data into Meaningful, Usable Clinical Information|
|Monday, 01 March 2010 00:00|
Nuance Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: NUAN), today announced significant advancements in its strategic Natural Language Processing (NLP) initiative for the healthcare industry. Expanding upon its existing technological capabilities and team of health information technology (HIT) experts, Nuance, a market leader in speech-driven clinical documentation and communication, will deliver breakthrough NLP-powered clinical documentation solutions to help analyze, structure and utilize the more than 80 percent of unstructured clinical documentation that exists in the healthcare industry today.
By empowering healthcare organizations to “unlock” unstructured clinical documentation, sometimes referred to as the “narrative blob,” Nuance’s NLP solutions will enable the extraction of clinically relevant data that would otherwise be impossible to access, unless done manually by humans. With this access, healthcare organizations will increase the amount of meaningful data that can be used for clinical decision making, leading to improved patient care and a reduction in overall healthcare costs. Furthermore, by helping collect and report on various diagnostic, quality and safety measures, Nuance will help healthcare organizations advance efforts to qualify for Meaningful Use reimbursements associated with certified electronic health record (EHR) technology, as outlined in the HITECH Act.
In addition to significant internal NLP research and development investments, Nuance has acquired key technologies and researchers from Language and Computing, Inc. (L&C), a pioneering developer of clinical narrative processing technology. Nuance has also formed a strategic partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), which will enable Nuance to incorporate MGH’s proven NLP solution, Smart Dictation, into its own solution portfolio for the healthcare market.
“Natural Language Processing adds meaning to the clinical narrative, so that clinicians’ spoken words are not simply transformed into text, but can be used to create meaningful clinical data that can be inserted into an EHR or other data repositories without forcing doctors to document via time consuming and restrictive point-and-click templates,” said John Shagoury, executive vice president for Healthcare, Nuance. “By adding these new Natural Language Processing technologies and capabilities, Nuance has advanced its commitment to improve the clinical documentation process for healthcare organizations by extending the power of our speech-driven solutions that cater to both to clinicians’ documentation preferences and provider organizations’ need to create structured data within their EHRs.”
By integrating L&C’s NLP technologies into its healthcare portfolio, Nuance will enhance its ability to address the structured data management challenges in healthcare with its award winning line of clinical documentation solutions including Dragon Medical, eScription and Dictaphone Enterprise Speech System. With these integrated technologies, Nuance will provide solutions to the healthcare market that enable advanced clinical data warehousing, clinical decision support, data mining, coding for billing and disease management. L&C’s powerful technologies include a comprehensive medical knowledge base that is specifically designed to extract clinically relevant and discrete data from unstructured medical documentation. L&C technology is currently deployed at major healthcare institutions, including Kaiser Permanente and Ochsner.
As part of Nuance’s broad partnership with MGH, Nuance will exclusively license Smart Dictation NLP, a pioneering system that was developed by the MGH Lab of Computer Science, which is currently being used by MGH physicians to automatically extract key data elements from narrative dictations and populate the EHR. Nuance will leverage key capabilities of this technology alongside its full portfolio of NLP and speech-driven clinical documentation solutions to help healthcare organizations convert unstructured text into a structured, digital and interoperable format that contains extracted data elements for a variety of applications.
To further support its mission associated with NLP development and its goal of maintaining the important clinician narrative in EHRs, Nuance has joined the Health Story Project, a collaboration of healthcare vendors, providers and associations. The Health Story Project believes clinical documentation that includes the physician narrative is crucial to facilitate the electronic exchange of comprehensive health information and should be defined as part of Meaningful Use criteria. Additionally, with this group, which holds an Associate Charter Agreement with Health Level Seven (HL7), Nuance will contribute to the development and support of the HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) standards to enhance the flow of clinical information between narrative dictations and the EHR.