Nuance's RadPort unit wins big hospital deal; Healthcare momentum accelerates

Summary:Nuance Communications said that its healthcare unit won a deal with the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI) for its RadPort software, which is an evidence based e-ordering system.

Nuance Communications on Wednesday said that its healthcare unit won a deal with the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI) for its RadPort software, which is an evidence based e-ordering system. The win could lead to bigger things for the company on the health front for Nuance.

The ICSI includes 60 medical groups and six health plans through Minnesota and its surrounding states. Under the terms of the deal, ICSI will license Nuance's RadPort to make sure its patients only get the medically appropriate high-tech tests such as MRIs, CT and PET scans. In addition, ICSI will use Nuance's RadCube software, which analyzes physician ordering and compares them with actual clinical outcomes.

ICSI's effort is the first in the U.S. to jump headfirst into evidence based care. The U.S. government's Health and Human Services agency is setting up pilots for electronic decision support in healthcare.

Peter Durlach, senior vice president of marketing and product strategy for Nuance's healthcare division, said the company entered the e-decision support market three years ago via an acquisition. Durlach noted that the industry is increasingly focused on preventing unnecessary tests to save money.

Indeed, the ICSI effort is projected to save $28 million a year based on pilot programs. The RadPort process goes like this: Doctors enter patient information along with the requested exam into the e-ordering system. The system then scores the exam and either verify the order or recommend something cheaper. The doctor can accept the recommendation of the system or override it. The RadCube system is a dashboard that highlights productivity, ordering and forecasting.

My reaction to the RadPort, RadCube news was one of surprise. Nuance has a stealthy, yet successful healthcare unit. Some parts of Nuance's healthcare business are blatantly obvious fits. Nuance's voice recognition software is a great fit for the healthcare industry, which relies on dictation. Nuance has the following parts:

  • Dragon medical: Voice recognition for physicians, one of the few careers where dictation comes naturally.
  • Speech enabled documentation: Nuance software automates transcription into electronic health record systems.
  • And the RadPort, RadCube, which service as automated ordering systems and business intelligence for healthcare.

The ICSI win comes a month after IBM and Nuance said they are collaborating on clinical language understanding technologies that will combine natural language processing and healthcare processes.

Topics: Tech & Work, CXO, Enterprise Software, Legal


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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