Oracle has added generative AI services to its healthcare portfolio. Customers who use Oracle’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) solutions now have access to the Oracle Clinical Digital Assistant. Using generative AI and voice input, it delivers benefits for both providers and patients.
“By bringing comprehensive generative AI and voice-first capabilities to our EHR platforms, we are not only helping providers reduce mundane work that leads to burnout, but we are also empowering them to create better interactions with patients that establish trust, build loyalty, and deliver better outcomes.”
What does the Clinical Digital Assistant deliver?
There are two target audiences for the Clinical Digital Assistant, providers and patients. It’s an interesting approach to target both groups with the same solution.
The goal is simple – reduce the amount of time spent using a keyboard to make notes on and find data related to a patient. Oracle cites the example of a provider using conversational voice input.
During an appointment, the provider could ask, “Show me the patient’s latest MRI results”. According to Oracle, “The information and images are then delivered in a relevant order that helps the physician gain insight into the appropriate treatment path without requiring a multi-menu, multi-step interaction with the EHR.”
Another benefit for providers is that it allows them to focus on the patient during a consultation rather than a computer screen. Oracle believes this will make patients feel more engaged and listened to by the provider.
Among the benefits cited by Oracle are, “The multimodal voice and screen-based assistant participates in the appointment using generative AI to automate note taking and to propose context-aware next actions, such as ordering medication or scheduling labs and follow-up appointments.”
This functionality will be delivered in the next 12 months.
The emphasis here is on self-service and empowerment. Using voice, a patient can “schedule an appointment or pay a bill, to getting generative AI-driven answers to questions such as, ‘What happens during a colonoscopy?’”
Many systems allow patients to schedule appointments and pay bills at the moment. However, they often require the patient to navigate multiple menu options or call their provider. The provider is then left with navigating the menu, which just shifts the time wasted to someone else.
Another benefit that Oracle sees is that providers can extend the system in a range of ways. A patient could be reminded what they need to bring to an appointment, such as a urine sample, or not to consume food and drink from a given time.
A more interesting approach is to widen the information available to patients to reduce the number of calls made to providers. Test results could be quickly requested, or information on a procedure could be provided.
Unlike the delay to some of the provider features, the patient features are available immediately.
Time to take advantage of voice
Travis Dalton, EVP and GM of Oracle Health, says that the Clinical Digital Assistant is part of delivering on promises to improve the user experience (UX). Dalton said, “We’re gonna launch the digital assistant. Our view is that we can take the full scale of technologies and use it to take clicking out of the provider burnout problem set.”
Dalton sees the Digital Clinical Assistant as being an advantage for Oracle over its competitors. He commented, “You’ve got real-time processing, that is recording the conversation. You’re using generative AI and other capabilities, and you’re bringing that to the patient room.”
One of the reasons why this works, from Dalton’s perspective, is that voice, and the technologies to interpret it, are now mature enough to trust it. It’s an important perspective. The last five years have seen a surge in AI-driven voice transcription technology. There has also been a move by other industries, such as finance, to adopt voice as a biometric for identification.
Dalton believes that the benefits for providers in being able to use voice to add notes, retrieve medical data and schedule new treatments are significant. At the moment, there are no metrics on the amount of time that can be saved. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for those to be presented.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean?
There are challenges here that need to be considered. As an organisation that transcribes a lot of conversations, at Enterprise Times, we are only too aware of its limitations around accents.
Voice has long suffered from the problem of needing training. While that has meant long-term gains, in the short-term, it can be time-hungry. In the healthcare sector, time is something no one has.
That is something that needs to be looked at by Oracle. Overcoming patients using a limited set of requests is one thing. But, if voice is going to be used by clinicians to retrieve data, it has to be perfect out of the box.
If Oracle can deliver the benefits it claims for the Clinical Digital Assistant, providers and patients will be very happy. It also delivers on one of those promises we have seen from technology companies for years, and that is improving healthcare at the point of interaction.